Before leaving Delhi on Wednesday for the Taj Mahal, Robert Gates declared that India needed to sign the CISMOA, and an agreement on Geo-spatial Cooperation, before the C-130Js being delivered to India could be fitted with cutting-edge equipment
by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st Jan 2010
The United States, according to credible recent press reports, is training Special Forces to “grab” Pakistan’s nuclear weapons if they seem about to fall into terrorist hands. And if the Indian Army is to play a role in the operations, here is how it might play out.
While US Special Forces are heli-dropped onto known Pakistani nuclear missile sites, and the US Air Force suppresses Pakistan’s air defences, the IAF’s newly acquired C-130J Hercules aircraft take off from Udhampur, flying Indian commandos to an unused airstrip near Kahuta which American Green Berets have temporarily secured. The Hercules’ electronic jammers blind Pakistani radars before entering Pakistani airspace; the Green Berets give the all-clear to the airborne Indian commander on secret frequencies that cannot be intercepted or jammed.
The Hercules lands in pitch darkness, satellite navigation directing the aircraft precisely to the landing site. Indian assault teams spill out to secure and deactivate the endangered nukes.
But there’s a hitch! India will only be eligible to receive key equipment on the Hercules --- electronic jammers; secure communications; and satellite navigation aids --- if New Delhi sheds its reluctance to sign a long-pending agreement that Washington insists upon for safeguarding its technologies: the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).
The US is also insisting upon another agreement for protecting its space technology: the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (AGC).
Visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, has strongly urged India’s government to sign these agreements. MoD sources say that, in his meeting with Defence Minister AK Antony, Gates conveyed Washington’s impatience at New Delhi’s delay. Without a CISMOA, Gates suggested, the C-130J would be just a top-notch transport aircraft; the CISMOA was necessary for fitting the electronics that would transform it into the world’s most formidable Special Forces aircraft.
Addressing the press, Gates explained, “[These agreements] will lead to greater interoperability and a greater capability of our forces to work together whether they are working together to provide Indian Ocean security… or in a disaster relief activity, or any number of other military operations.”
Gates also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sign a long-pending Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which would allow Indian and American forces, ships and aircraft to obtain logistics from each others’ bases. While less immediate than the CISMOA, the LSA is an important step towards deeper military cooperation.
Growing US impatience at India’s inaction was also evident from Gates’ elaboration that, “These agreements have been laying around for quite a while… this is not some new requirement that has just emerged. [These agreements] are preponderantly in India’s benefit, because they give high-tech systems additional high-tech capabilities… are enablers, if you will, to the very highest quality equipment in the Indian armed forces.”
Gates played the diplomat in suggesting, “I think we have not done an adequate job on the American side in spelling out for our Indian partners the benefits to India of signing these agreements…. I promised the PM last night that we (the US) would do a better job of putting on paper, and using concrete examples (to illustrate) the benefits to India of all of these agreements.”
In July 09, India and the US had implemented the crucial End User Monitoring (EUM) Agreement, which safeguards US technology by disallowing India to pass on US military equipment to any third party, without permission from Washington. The EUM Agreement allows Washington to physically verify that equipment sold to India remains in Indian hands.