25 September, 2020

Open Sesame?

Indo-US defence ties get a new thrust with the GSOMIA deal

Open Sesame?
In the end, it was a few quick signatures and a couple of handshakes that marked the melting of India's reluctance to be party to a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with America. Analysts say the agreement, signed during defence minister George Fernandes' recent US trip, should initiate a fruitful exchange of critical military information between the two countries. "It's certainly not a trivial matter. It opens the gates for certain transactions which were off the table during the Cold War," says Prof Sumit Ganguly, professor of Asian Studies and Government at the University of Texas, Austin.

Till a few months ago, New Delhi was hesitant to sign such a covenant with the US. "It did not specify the type of exchange of military information but only required each country to elucidate the procedure followed to ensure the security of information, if and when any information was exchanged," an Indian defence official explained. But such stubbornness denied India access to cutting edge US defence technology. The GSOMIA is a broad commitment by the US and...


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