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India, US Sign Major Defence Pacts Ahead of $15 Billion Fighter Jet Tender

© AP Photo / Rajanish KakadeIndian men fold the US and Indian flags at a shop in Mumbai, India (File)
Indian men fold the US and Indian flags at a shop in Mumbai, India (File) - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): The US has been denying critical defence technology to India, citing security reasons, for years. Washington had expressed its concerns to India that Moscow may allegedly snoop on the inner workings of its defence tech if secure technological pacts are not present to act as safeguards.

After years of negotiation, India and the US have signed  Industrial Security Annex (ISA) during the second 2+2 dialogue between India's foreign and defence ministers and the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in Washington. This is the third "foundational" agreement signed between the two nations.

"Today’s dialogue was built on steady progress over this past year. We secured new agreements on space exploration and defence industry collaboration," Mike Pompeo said after the meeting in Washington.

This, again, is considered an important agreement for any country seeking to receive high-end defence technology from the US.

"We hope that this will enable the smooth transfer of classified technology and information between private entities in the USA and India," Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh emphasised.

The foreign and defence ministers also announced the launch of a new annual exercise called Tiger Triumph, which will "enhance tri-service coordination and allow us to exchange knowledge and expertise."

New Delhi and Washington also finalised three agreements under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, aimed to enhance ability to co-produce and co-develop critical technology.

India had already signed two US foundational agreements: the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Military observers consider the ISA an important agreement ahead of India's $15 billion fighter jet tender in which firms from Russia, the US, France, and Sweden are expected to take part next year.

A large part of the fighter jets will be licence-built locally through a strategic partner from the private sector selected by the Indian Ministry of Defence.

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