Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of India receiving the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver, the inaugural India - US 2+2 dialogue took place on 06 September – another significant step in transforming the bilateral relationship. Earlier, India-US nuclear deal has been another significant milestone. As the relationship solidifies, albeit a bit tentatively, the basic common platforms are: strategic and defence engagement, economic cooperation and mutual trade, and democratic values. The strongest area of focus at present appears to be defence and strategy.
It is underpinned by a common threat in the rise of an assertive China. As China strives to upend the US-led global order, the US administration appears keen on putting up a joint counter to China’s rise, with India as a major strategic partner. The decision to rename the Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command was a symbolic recognition of India’s importance to the evolving American worldview.
In the backdrop of the US’ Caatsa (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) law, signing of ‘Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)’ was a major step forward as it will enable India to access advanced technologies from the US and facilitate interoperability between the defence forces.
The dialogue also focused on regional stability in South Asia, South-East Asia and Indo-Pacific. Our cover story by General Ata Hasnain examines the geostrategic aspects of the dialogue in detail. There is another related feature by puegget and Brig Arvind Thakur that analyses possible areas of defence cooperation between the two countries.
In the surcharged times at present, age old ceremonies like Beating the Retreat at Attari-Wagah border outpost come into focus. Meant to be a simple military ceremony, the highly-exaggerated drill at the outpost, though entertaining, leaves thousands of visitors on either side of the border with a sense of animosity towards the neighbouring country. Lt Gen Bhatia, former DG Military Ops suggests that we replace the practice with a dignified military drill and an entertaining cultural programme.
Vice Admiral Chauhan writes about Op VIJAY, Indian military’s joint campaign to liberate Goa and Daman in 1962. Air Marshal Chopra writes about aircraft production and Lt Gen NB Singh’s article is on defence manufacturing – suggestions just right in the current scenario. Our readers will enjoy the content rich issue.