COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
Dileep
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5251
Joined: 04 Apr 2005 08:17
Location: Dera Mahab Ali धरा महाबलिस्याः درا مهاب الي

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Dileep » 09 Sep 2018 19:29

Got a question. Today,imagine a P8I on patrol finding a boatload of bakis who left from kratchi in our direction. How exactly do they communicate to the command? Do they a)Use a voice channel to give the co ordinates? b)Send a text message c)Send an image d)Send live video?

Now, with a new US system on board (and the counterpart at the command), what can they do?

Similarly with a drone watching beards in PoK. How would the field commander communicate back?

I have reasons to believe that is is still voice, and in a few cases, text. I could be wrong.

Rakesh
Forum Moderator
Posts: 5714
Joined: 15 Jan 2004 12:31
Location: Planet Earth
Contact:

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Rakesh » 09 Sep 2018 21:26

I believe the COTS comm equipment on the P-8I communicate to INS Kattabomman and advise command as such and advise via a secure Indian network. It is my understanding that is how the process works now.

Austin
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21920
Joined: 23 Jul 2000 11:31

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Austin » 09 Sep 2018 21:53

Dileep wrote:Got a question. Today,imagine a P8I on patrol finding a boatload of bakis who left from kratchi in our direction. How exactly do they communicate to the command? Do they a)Use a voice channel to give the co ordinates? b)Send a text message c)Send an image d)Send live video?

Now, with a new US system on board (and the counterpart at the command), what can they do?

Similarly with a drone watching beards in PoK. How would the field commander communicate back?

I have reasons to believe that is is still voice, and in a few cases, text. I could be wrong.


AFAIK P8 carry BEL Made DL

Neshant
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4620
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Neshant » 10 Sep 2018 04:40

Dileep wrote:Got a question. Today,imagine a P8I on patrol finding a boatload of bakis who left from kratchi in our direction. How exactly do they communicate to the command? Do they a)Use a voice channel to give the co ordinates? b)Send a text message c)Send an image d)Send live video?

Now, with a new US system on board (and the counterpart at the command), what can they do?

Similarly with a drone watching beards in PoK. How would the field commander communicate back?

I have reasons to believe that is is still voice, and in a few cases, text. I could be wrong.


RF signals, either bounced off satellites or directly if it's line of sight or relayed via intermediaries (ships, aircraft/drones or towers within line of sight). There is also optical comms if it is line of sight involving lasers. Since this is the coastline, the plane could move in and out of cellphone tower transmission radius downloading it's data dump in non-real time fashion as needed.

Also if you can transmit voice, you can transmit encrypted data of any kind depending on bandwidth.

It must be some such method I imagine.

Neshant
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4620
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Neshant » 10 Sep 2018 05:06

ArjunPandit wrote:India & US sign COMCASA

External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, today announced the signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) between the two nations.

The COMCASA will facilitate India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US, and access critical communication network to ensure interoperability among the US and the Indian armed forces.




The implications of the signing of COMCASA are way more than just communications. It signals that India is firmly aligned with US.

Few perspectives that I could think of were

Military Capacity:
1. What new shiny toys do we get
2. Does it lead to improvement in Indian MIC?

Diplomatic/Strategic
3. What impact does it have on our long-term relationships with russia? Will it mean India eventually moves out of Russian camp to the US camp?
4. How much does it impact our "strategic autonomy"
5. What impact does it have on our immediate neighbourhood, e.g., China/Pakistan
5. Is it a trap for us, because the fine print does not mean more than the sale deed of WTC


If I'm not mistaken, India also signed a logistical support agreement for Russian naval assets in the IOR as well.

It is not US but more so China that Russia is worried about. China's northern fleet is expanding with the ability to cut Russia's eastern access to the Pacific off if need be. Russia wanted reciprocal capability to cut China off in the IOR but had neither the money nor the access to the infrasucture in the IOR for a long term presence. They used to have Cam Rahn bay in Vietnam but their access to it expired in 2002 when they could no longer afford the rent Vietnam was asking for the naval base.

Dileep
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5251
Joined: 04 Apr 2005 08:17
Location: Dera Mahab Ali धरा महाबलिस्याः درا مهاب الي

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Dileep » 10 Sep 2018 07:05

I raised the question because we tend to get into science fiction about the communication capabilities, based on the 'possibilities', not realities.

Here are the 'realities'

Kattabomman is an ELF Transmitter. The ELF have very low bandwidth. Its primary role is to go underwater, where the higher frequencies to not go. It can broadcast a short text message to the submarine. That is all it can do.

I am not sure if we have low orbit communication satellites that support small satellite radios. I see no reason why we shouldn't. We do have plenty of geostationary assets that will support VSAT like channels. I am not sure if we use them on mobile systems.

In all, in my mind, we are still in the 'bark commands into the mic' generation still. Change my mind.

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15528
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Karan M » 10 Sep 2018 09:42

Dileep, the P-8I's carry a variant of the BEL Link-2
https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/li ... 09788.html
BEL delivered the Indian-designed Data Link II, a communications system that will enable exchange of tactical data and messages between Indian Navy aircraft, ships and shore establishments.
https://www.livefistdefence.com/2010/05 ... enous.html
https://www.indiastrategic.in/topstories549.htm
Navy uses G-SAT7 for NLOS comms.

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15528
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Karan M » 10 Sep 2018 09:47

In short P-8I to node: voice, text, D/L format coordinates/targeting data. Nodes to sub use ELF. But rest of ships will be D/L via Link-2

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17496
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby chetak » 10 Sep 2018 11:08

Karan M wrote:In short P-8I to node: voice, text, D/L format coordinates/targeting data. Nodes to sub use ELF. But rest of ships will be D/L via Link-2


The links can possibly be intercepted at any of the transhipment points and are susceptible to being decoded or jammed. With ELF bandwidth limitations, one assumes that the use of sophisticated encryption techniques would also be limited.

If all else fails, maybe a brute force broadband noise jamming technique would drown out the signal. How unlikely does a purpose built long range, long endurance ELINT drone carrying a high power broadband noise jammer sound?? Also, the possibility of the lone wolf MR/EW platform carrying a BVR long range AA missile is low.

COMINT/SIGINT techniques have improved significantly over time so for any radiating platform to assume radio invisibility would be quite unwise.

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15528
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Karan M » 10 Sep 2018 13:48

Noise jammers can be triangulated and targeted, IMHO - finding and jamming a task force will be no easy task to be accomplished by a single drone. About ELF - absolutely bandwidth issues remain, so I guess there will be a mix of encryption techniques used, preventing brute force attacks directed at one type alone. Sometimes the simplest techniques may work the best.

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15528
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Karan M » 10 Sep 2018 13:50

Basically a noise jammer would have to drown out multiple Link-2s from multiple platforms, the sat to ship/vice-versa/sat-shore/shore-sat links, the shore-sub and sub-ship/ship-shore links.. the number of antenna required, power output, diversity of bands/waveforms will be huge, especially now the IN is moving en masse to SDRs with all sorts of flexibility in waveforms, encryption etc.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17496
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby chetak » 10 Sep 2018 14:24

Karan M wrote:Noise jammers can be triangulated and targeted, IMHO - finding and jamming a task force will be no easy task to be accomplished by a single drone. About ELF - absolutely bandwidth issues remain, so I guess there will be a mix of encryption techniques used, preventing brute force attacks directed at one type alone. Sometimes the simplest techniques may work the best.


MR/ELINT aircraft are essentially lone wolves usually operating as such and normally in complete radio silence in areas away from normal commercial and MIL traffic.

If they data link, they can easily be triangulated too. They would be juicy targets really worth going for.

Sure, the noise jammers can be triangulated. What then?? What if such drones are in a swarm mode??

Is a vectored attack to be launched on an expendable/easily replaced target from an expensive and short TOT interceptor??

Given the comparatively low transmitted power from such comm links, noise jamming may very well work from much greater standoff distances.

There are workarounds from both sides and it is a fast evolving cat and mouse game.

Dileep
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5251
Joined: 04 Apr 2005 08:17
Location: Dera Mahab Ali धरा महाबलिस्याः درا مهاب الي

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Dileep » 10 Sep 2018 16:39

ELF systems work with the 'code book' method. As secure as the code book itself.

The simplest un-breakable coding is the XOR Cipher, with a random key equal or greater in length to the message. Works beautifully with the short text messages.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12859
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Lalmohan » 10 Sep 2018 17:51

there are hopefully some political dimensions to this deal as well... some hints in some articles but no doubt we will not know for years to come

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15528
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Karan M » 10 Sep 2018 18:43

chetak wrote:
Karan M wrote:Noise jammers can be triangulated and targeted, IMHO - finding and jamming a task force will be no easy task to be accomplished by a single drone. About ELF - absolutely bandwidth issues remain, so I guess there will be a mix of encryption techniques used, preventing brute force attacks directed at one type alone. Sometimes the simplest techniques may work the best.


MR/ELINT aircraft are essentially lone wolves usually operating as such and normally in complete radio silence in areas away from normal commercial and MIL traffic.

If they data link, they can easily be triangulated too. They would be juicy targets really worth going for.

Sure, the noise jammers can be triangulated. What then?? What if such drones are in a swarm mode??

Is a vectored attack to be launched on an expendable/easily replaced target from an expensive and short TOT interceptor??

Given the comparatively low transmitted power from such comm links, noise jamming may very well work from much greater standoff distances.

There are workarounds from both sides and it is a fast evolving cat and mouse game.


The datalinks need to be activated only on need to basis. Quick bursts - hence not easy to detect. Next, directional antennas may be used or if the MR/ASW aircraft is far enough, some sort of NLOS Satcom kit, intercepting that will neither be easy or even possible for an enemy with limited resources.

About swarms, where will this swarm operate from, how long will its endurance be, and how much coverage can it provide? Can it even self heal (for instance, if some aircraft are knocked down, does jamming remain viable). These logistical issues are what prevent the easy deployment of swarms in an interventionist setting. For instance how can PLAN deploy a swarm against IN MR/ASW aircraft, and how many times, especially if IN sends several platforms & the PLAN force has to remain radio silent too, to prevent detection.

pankajs
BRF Oldie
Posts: 10407
Joined: 13 Aug 2009 20:56

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby pankajs » 10 Sep 2018 18:52

^
A couple of thoughts.

1. The drone that will be "long range, long endurance ... carrying high power .. jammer" wouldn't be small. All 3 requirements will demand a significant fuel/energy/power payloads apart from the Jammer.
2. Individually such a large drone will visible on Indian radars quite a while before they approach the Indian borders.
3. For sufficient range of interception they would have to fly high.
4. They will be valuable enough to chase and shoot down with a SAM and/or Fighters. Will cost a pretty penny when lost.
5. In a swarm, my guess is that they would show up on Indian radars earlier.
6. How far from the Indian border will they take up their patrol position?

Plus where would they fly from? They have to be deployed near the borders to be use their long endurance on patrol rather than on transit to and from the patrol area.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17496
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby chetak » 10 Sep 2018 19:23

Karan M wrote:
chetak wrote:
MR/ELINT aircraft are essentially lone wolves usually operating as such and normally in complete radio silence in areas away from normal commercial and MIL traffic.

If they data link, they can easily be triangulated too. They would be juicy targets really worth going for.

Sure, the noise jammers can be triangulated. What then?? What if such drones are in a swarm mode??

Is a vectored attack to be launched on an expendable/easily replaced target from an expensive and short TOT interceptor??

Given the comparatively low transmitted power from such comm links, noise jamming may very well work from much greater standoff distances.

There are workarounds from both sides and it is a fast evolving cat and mouse game.


The datalinks need to be activated only on need to basis. Quick bursts - hence not easy to detect. Next, directional antennas may be used or if the MR/ASW aircraft is far enough, some sort of NLOS Satcom kit, intercepting that will neither be easy or even possible for an enemy with limited resources.

About swarms, where will this swarm operate from, how long will its endurance be, and how much coverage can it provide? Can it even self heal (for instance, if some aircraft are knocked down, does jamming remain viable). These logistical issues are what prevent the easy deployment of swarms in an interventionist setting. For instance how can PLAN deploy a swarm against IN MR/ASW aircraft, and how many times, especially if IN sends several platforms & the PLAN force has to remain radio silent too, to prevent detection.


Today's systems are designed to catch burst transmissions. Everyone and their brother uses this technique.

Triangulation of such transmitters is becoming fairly routine because everyone uses them and techniques are evolving and multiple receivers separated by considerable distances are in constant sweep mode including satellite based assets which can easily cover a very wide swathe, detect and pass tracking/location inputs. Multi country MIL exercises generate some amount of general cross talk which sometimes helps to refine existing operational techniques and other times generate new ideas depending mostly on what is in the analysis and lessons learned pipeline.

Expendable drones are increasingly being carried on a variety of platforms. Older cruise missiles are being repurposed. Some of them can be air launched as well. Once the heavy warhead is out, range increases, additional fuel load can be incorporated along with the mission specific electronics chosen from a suite.

Lots of interesting ideas are being kicked around in-house and some of it is may be serious enough to attract the attention of the bean counters.

arshyam
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2942
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby arshyam » 10 Sep 2018 21:59

Rakesh wrote:<snip>
pankajs wrote:<snip>

Thanks for the detailed replies Rakesh and Pankajs saars. This thread has already moved a page, so let me try to summarize what you both essentially said before framing some questions I have. Some are just counter-points and may not be actual questions.

So far, this is how you both are viewing this agreement (nothing wrong with it, just stating my understanding. Pls correct/add if I've missed anything):
  1. This is a tactical intel-sharing agreement between two militaries, and nothing more beyond that.
  2. We get to decide where and how much to share - we won't fit COMCASA equipment to all US origin gear.
  3. We get access to US' intel picture (I assume they also get to decide where and how much to share)
  4. This will minimally impact our operations and there will be an air-gap between the US-gear equipped assets and ours.
  5. This air-gap will be bridged manually at some command centre.
  6. There is minimal risk of snooping due to the above-mentioned air gap.
  7. We can walk out whenever we want, subject to the notice period. Same for the US.
  8. We will use this to collaborate in the naval sphere against the Chinese, as that's where coverage is a problem.

I understand std disclaimers apply as none of us really know what the actual agreement says till GoI or USG decides to release the fine print. Given what's in the public domain, the above summary seems reasonable. Even the agreement appears reasonable at this point :).

Now, for my questions :mrgreen:.

  1. While the Predators will be good to have, and we could probably use them to deter some terrorists, etc., the main thrust of this agreement seems to the naval domain. Both of you indicated pretty much the same. So let me focus on the naval aspects here.
  2. While we won't install the COMCASA gear on all equipment, we will have to install on some, say P8Is. How will this communicate with the central node, where the info will be passed on to the air-gapped Indian n/w? US sats? Is there a risk in having two sets of comms equipment on board - one talking to a US sat, and one to our Rohini?
  3. I am not very clear on the clear on how the P8Is will communicate with our ships in nearby waters - there has to be a manual air-gap on board as well, as sending the data back to the central-node and then have it relayed back to the ship nearby seems wasteful and slow. Any ideas?
  4. Do we see a scenario where we put some COMCASA gear on our ships for better coverage of the IOR? P8Is can't be everywhere all the time (we only have 12 on order now, follow-on orders are still only rumoured), and if the US' need for better coverage via the IN is true, it will be best realized only with IN capital assets being equipped with COMCASA gear.
  5. If such capital assets are to be equipped, we will be opening the innards of our frontline warships to US personnel to come and install/maintain the equipment, not to mention periodic inspection. This is not a simple "inspect the Predator and be on your way", so I am concerned about this aspect, to put it mildly (I actually find the very thought insulting). Thoughts?
  6. If we are to help complete the picture about IOR, we need some dedicated assets deployed in some mutually agreed pattern. In effect, this sounds like joint patrolling. So what's the other part of this joint?
  7. One of you mentioned turning on the COMCASA gear when needed, and turning it off otherwise. I don't think that's feasible - intel gathering cannot work on incomplete pictures - if you are looking for something, you keep looking continuously. This becomes all the more important when you are sharing the data in real-time. Expecting the Americans to take what they get does not make any sense to me. So my conclusion is that we won't turn off the COMCASA gear when deployed. However, this leads to other complications, like below.
  8. In our discussions, we haven't considered one arm of the Navy, the silent service. We don't have any US origin subs, and the yanks would love to get their hands on our sub signatures, especially the nukes. So we cannot risk the deployment of a COMCASA-equipped asset close with a nuke sub, except perhaps on exercises :). Even then, the risk of snooping is high.
  9. In fact, we should be very careful on sub deployments, as we have to be mindful about where our own COMCASA assets are deployed, or we risk having these sensors capture signatures of our own subs. While this is true for desi equipment as well, at least there we control the h/w and s/w and so we know what we are seeing. Can't say the same for a black box built by someone whose sole purpose in life is to record stuff. I can't imagine what that would do to our deployment and escort patterns.
  10. We will have to assume that the US gear is going to keep recording/snooping on everything we do, so we have to tailor even our non-COMCASA comms accordingly. Very hard to not reveal something we shouldn't. If someone thinks I am over-doing the American threat here, please remember that this is a country whose agencies have some of the largest datacenters on earth just to suck random internet info for intel gathering.
  11. I also know from working in the s/w field that a lot of insights are possible simply by looking at patterns in data. So this agreement opens us to that risk as a lot of info about our naval deployments will be gathered by this equipment.

Some of the above may make absolutely no sense to professionals or those with better knowledge than me, so please excuse and correct as appropriate. I am voicing out what I know from BRF and public domain. I also know from working in the s/w field that a lot of insights are possible simply by looking at patterns in data. So this agreement opens us to that risk as a lot of info about our naval deployments will be gathered by this equipment.

Disclaimer: yes, the GoI has walked into this deal and so must have given it some thought, and I don't see a reason to disagree with that hypothesis. But I'd like to understand the fine print to the extent possible without actually reading it. I also understand that neither of you or anyone on BRF might actually know the answers to all these questions, but it would be good to evaluate the costs to us, monetary or otherwise.

pankajs
BRF Oldie
Posts: 10407
Joined: 13 Aug 2009 20:56

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby pankajs » 10 Sep 2018 22:04

chetak wrote:Expendable drones are increasingly being carried on a variety of platforms. Older cruise missiles are being repurposed. Some of them can be air launched as well. Once the heavy warhead is out, range increases, additional fuel load can be incorporated along with the mission specific electronics chosen from a suite.

Lots of interesting ideas are being kicked around in-house and some of it is may be serious enough to attract the attention of the bean counters.
chetak wrote:If all else fails, maybe a brute force broadband noise jamming technique would drown out the signal. How unlikely does a purpose built long range, long endurance ELINT drone carrying a high power broadband noise jammer sound?? Also, the possibility of the lone wolf MR/EW platform carrying a BVR long range AA missile is low.

What kind of endurance are we talking of here with this repurposed cruise missile as an expendable drone concept?

pankajs
BRF Oldie
Posts: 10407
Joined: 13 Aug 2009 20:56

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby pankajs » 10 Sep 2018 23:20

arshyam wrote:I understand std disclaimers apply as none of us really know what the actual agreement says till GoI or USG decides to release the fine print. Given what's in the public domain, the above summary seems reasonable. Even the agreement appears reasonable at this point :).

Now, for my questions :mrgreen:.

  1. While the Predators will be good to have, and we could probably use them to deter some terrorists, etc., the main thrust of this agreement seems to the naval domain. Both of you indicated pretty much the same. So let me focus on the naval aspects here.
  2. While we won't install the COMCASA gear on all equipment, we will have to install on some, say P8Is. How will this communicate with the central node, where the info will be passed on to the air-gapped Indian n/w? US sats? Is there a risk in having two sets of comms equipment on board - one talking to a US sat, and one to our Rohini?
  3. I am not very clear on the clear on how the P8Is will communicate with our ships in nearby waters - there has to be a manual air-gap on board as well, as sending the data back to the central-node and then have it relayed back to the ship nearby seems wasteful and slow. Any ideas?
  4. Do we see a scenario where we put some COMCASA gear on our ships for better coverage of the IOR? P8Is can't be everywhere all the time (we only have 12 on order now, follow-on orders are still only rumoured), and if the US' need for better coverage via the IN is true, it will be best realized only with IN capital assets being equipped with COMCASA gear.
  5. If such capital assets are to be equipped, we will be opening the innards of our frontline warships to US personnel to come and install/maintain the equipment, not to mention periodic inspection. This is not a simple "inspect the Predator and be on your way", so I am concerned about this aspect, to put it mildly (I actually find the very thought insulting). Thoughts?
  6. If we are to help complete the picture about IOR, we need some dedicated assets deployed in some mutually agreed pattern. In effect, this sounds like joint patrolling. So what's the other part of this joint?
  7. One of you mentioned turning on the COMCASA gear when needed, and turning it off otherwise. I don't think that's feasible - intel gathering cannot work on incomplete pictures - if you are looking for something, you keep looking continuously. This becomes all the more important when you are sharing the data in real-time. Expecting the Americans to take what they get does not make any sense to me. So my conclusion is that we won't turn off the COMCASA gear when deployed. However, this leads to other complications, like below.
  8. In our discussions, we haven't considered one arm of the Navy, the silent service. We don't have any US origin subs, and the yanks would love to get their hands on our sub signatures, especially the nukes. So we cannot risk the deployment of a COMCASA-equipped asset close with a nuke sub, except perhaps on exercises :). Even then, the risk of snooping is high.
  9. In fact, we should be very careful on sub deployments, as we have to be mindful about where our own COMCASA assets are deployed, or we risk having these sensors capture signatures of our own subs. While this is true for desi equipment as well, at least there we control the h/w and s/w and so we know what we are seeing. Can't say the same for a black box built by someone whose sole purpose in life is to record stuff. I can't imagine what that would do to our deployment and escort patterns.
  10. We will have to assume that the US gear is going to keep recording/snooping on everything we do, so we have to tailor even our non-COMCASA comms accordingly. Very hard to not reveal something we shouldn't. If someone thinks I am over-doing the American threat here, please remember that this is a country whose agencies have some of the largest datacenters on earth just to suck random internet info for intel gathering.
  11. I also know from working in the s/w field that a lot of insights are possible simply by looking at patterns in data. So this agreement opens us to that risk as a lot of info about our naval deployments will be gathered by this equipment.

Some of the above may make absolutely no sense to professionals or those with better knowledge than me, so please excuse and correct as appropriate. I am voicing out what I know from BRF and public domain. I also know from working in the s/w field that a lot of insights are possible simply by looking at patterns in data. So this agreement opens us to that risk as a lot of info about our naval deployments will be gathered by this equipment.

Disclaimer: yes, the GoI has walked into this deal and so must have given it some thought, and I don't see a reason to disagree with that hypothesis. But I'd like to understand the fine print to the extent possible without actually reading it. I also understand that neither of you or anyone on BRF might actually know the answers to all these questions, but it would be good to evaluate the costs to us, monetary or otherwise.

My guess is that P8I has consoles and operators on the plane who monitor the sensor output. They also have the Indian comm link using which they communicate with the Indian command center.

Now It has been stated by GOI and USG at various times that India is unable to fully exploit the capability of sensors because of lack of COMCASA. My rather simplistic and uneducated guess is that this means that the sensor output remains confined to the plane/console and the operators pass on the data manually over the Indian comm system via voice/text/coordinates.

What will change if COMCASA gear is attached to the P8Is is that the sensors will go on the US network even while the operators on the plane will see the realtime picture on his console as before. The operator will still be able to pass the necessary info to the Indian command center via the old method but that will become unnecessary. The India command center will receive the complete picture of our near abroad on some kind of a US supplied console in realtime that will deliver a fusion of data from our P8i sensors, drones and US and its allies sensors. [Pt.2]

Our P8Is can communicate with our ships in the vicinity over the Indian comm link as well as get their feeds over the Indian network from the Indian command center which will have the same picture plus more in realtime. [Pt.3]

In my view, our sensors of non-US origin have zero chance of going on the US network. It is not because of our objections but will the US allow it? It is said that the chain is as strong as the weakest link. One compromised equipment on this network and the whole network will be compromised. US will never risk attaching any sensor on its ultra secure network that is not of US origin. This is the reason for them wanting to do periodic inspection of their own equipment! It is a very logical thing to ask for if you know what is at stake and one reason why that demand gives me comfort as I have stated before.

The same reason for maintaining an air gap between the Indian network and the US network. Can they garuntee the security of the US network if it interfaces with an unknown (from their pov) network which hosts god know what kind of sensors from all over the place but especially Russia, which is built to god knows what standards, security (both physical and network), encryption and the worst of all the sensors and endpoints may change from day to day that not only they can't inspect or track but not even know! Logically such a move will be suicidal from US pov unless they take total control of the whole Indian network, its hardware, its software, its encryption and especially all its end points. Not happening. Forget India, US won't risk it.

So will the Indian ships get COMCASA gear? Active ones that connect sensors/networks. Never. Passive ones like a consoles similar to ones installed in the Indian command center. Possible but why would we need that. The Indian ships will receive their "enhanced" updates over the India network which would have the latest info manually copied over from the US network in near realtime. [Pt.4,5]

I don't think there is any need for joint patrolling yet but perhaps co-ordinates patrolling just to ensure that our resources are spread out for maximum coverage. [pt.6]

A P8I that is sitting at its base or transiting to its patrol area will not have its sensors on and so the COMCASA equipment can be switched off. [Pt.7]

What will COMCASA equipment do on Sub? None of our subs have any US sensors. US will not allow non-US sensors on their network as I have put my thinking on that before. [Pt. 8]

US does not need Indian sub data/signature via the Indian P8Is via the COMCASA. My bet is they already have all the signature the need of the Indian subs via their own assets. [Pt. 9]

Usual disclaimers
Last edited by pankajs on 10 Sep 2018 23:33, edited 1 time in total.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17496
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby chetak » 10 Sep 2018 23:28

pankajs wrote:
chetak wrote:Expendable drones are increasingly being carried on a variety of platforms. Older cruise missiles are being repurposed. Some of them can be air launched as well. Once the heavy warhead is out, range increases, additional fuel load can be incorporated along with the mission specific electronics chosen from a suite.

Lots of interesting ideas are being kicked around in-house and some of it is may be serious enough to attract the attention of the bean counters.
chetak wrote:If all else fails, maybe a brute force broadband noise jamming technique would drown out the signal. How unlikely does a purpose built long range, long endurance ELINT drone carrying a high power broadband noise jammer sound?? Also, the possibility of the lone wolf MR/EW platform carrying a BVR long range AA missile is low.

What kind of endurance are we talking of here with this repurposed cruise missile as an expendable drone concept?


no one would put out those figures.

Picklu
BRFite
Posts: 1715
Joined: 25 Feb 2004 12:31

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Picklu » 12 Sep 2018 00:45

We can grow our economy to bazilion and induct 324^324 tejas.
But.
We will remain 3rd world hicks unless we grow big enough pair of golas to have purely transactional relationships with P5s.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19592
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Philip » 12 Sep 2018 04:29

Good point.The US and Russia havd the two best UW tech.Latest Brit. reports say that they're unable to detect the latest Ru N-subs snoopin' around Faslane.The US would've by now have an excellent library of PLAN sub signatures, most of which are noisy b*ggers. The protocols and basing of US defence personnel at our bases are to integrate our assets into the Yanqui war machine by stealth.Joint exercises keep turning the IN into an appendage of the USN , where we pick up the task
...and tab of dealing with China .

The massive Ru mil.exercises taking place involving over 300, 000 troops incl.a large contingent of Chins, indicates the reaction to US machinations in the region.Pak and China agreeing to extend OBOR to Afg. indicates that our Afg. policies are going to be v.hard to achieve if we follow the Yanqui roadmap which after 2 decades has been torn and tattered beyond repair.

kit
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2649
Joined: 13 Jul 2006 18:16

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby kit » 12 Sep 2018 04:39

Dileep wrote:I raised the question because we tend to get into science fiction about the communication capabilities, based on the 'possibilities', not realities.

Here are the 'realities'

Kattabomman is an ELF Transmitter. The ELF have very low bandwidth. Its primary role is to go underwater, where the higher frequencies to not go. It can broadcast a short text message to the submarine. That is all it can do.

I am not sure if we have low orbit communication satellites that support small satellite radios. I see no reason why we shouldn't. We do have plenty of geostationary assets that will support VSAT like channels. I am not sure if we use them on mobile systems.

In all, in my mind, we are still in the 'bark commands into the mic' generation still. Change my mind.


i think most of Indian communication satellites have transponders for military use

Dileep
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5251
Joined: 04 Apr 2005 08:17
Location: Dera Mahab Ali धरा महाबलिस्याः درا مهاب الي

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Dileep » 12 Sep 2018 09:27

^^Yes, they do. But are they on LEO?

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12859
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Lalmohan » 12 Sep 2018 14:14

Philip - current Russian exercises feature 3200 Chinese troops and 90 tanks compared to ~ x 10 Russian forces (plus Mongolian ones)
RuAF is deploying 1000 aircraft apparently
gaming against a 'superpower adversary' (i.e. US)

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19592
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Philip » 12 Sep 2018 18:58

True, but the fact of the Chins taking part at all is a major development.The US as you mentioned is the clear enemy.Will COMCASA bring us into the firing line if a Sino-US spat breaks out with Ru support to China and the US demands its pound of flesh with LEMOA, COMCASA, etc.? Any US assets/ entities on Indian soil/ bases could be considered fair game.

Trikaal
BRFite
Posts: 477
Joined: 19 Jul 2017 08:01

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Trikaal » 12 Sep 2018 19:19

Philip wrote:True, but the fact of the Chins taking part at all is a major development.The US as you mentioned is the clear enemy.Will COMCASA bring us into the firing line if a Sino-US spat breaks out with Ru support to China and the US demands its pound of flesh with LEMOA, COMCASA, etc.? Any US assets/ entities on Indian soil/ bases could be considered fair game.


If a Sino-US conflict breaks out, I say we go for the jugular. An attack on US assets on Indian bases will give us the required 'bahana'. While the Cheen is busy defending against the US in the east, we go fast and hard and sever the link that connects our two biggest enemies. Maybe liberate Tibet while we are at it. It would be a below the belt punch, but I think the cheeneese deserve nothing better.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12859
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Lalmohan » 12 Sep 2018 19:49

the Chini assessment is that Moscow is not serious about them - the Roosis would rather be west facing and leaning rather than get in too deep with Chin. they think they are being leveraged against the west, something that they are only half keen on
complications are there

Picklu
BRFite
Posts: 1715
Joined: 25 Feb 2004 12:31

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Picklu » 12 Sep 2018 19:54

Lalmohan wrote:the Chini assessment is that Moscow is not serious about them - the Roosis would rather be west facing and leaning rather than get in too deep with Chin. they think they are being leveraged against the west, something that they are only half keen on
complications are there


The Chinis are perfect example of purely transactional relationship.

They teamed up with Ruskies to fight US in Korea.

Then teamed up with US to fight Ruskies.

Again, teaming up with Ruskies to fight US.

Our strategic posture should be exactly like that.

ArjunPandit
BRFite
Posts: 1285
Joined: 29 Mar 2017 06:37

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby ArjunPandit » 13 Sep 2018 13:34

Trikaal wrote:
Philip wrote:True, but the fact of the Chins taking part at all is a major development.The US as you mentioned is the clear enemy.Will COMCASA bring us into the firing line if a Sino-US spat breaks out with Ru support to China and the US demands its pound of flesh with LEMOA, COMCASA, etc.? Any US assets/ entities on Indian soil/ bases could be considered fair game.


If a Sino-US conflict breaks out, I say we go for the jugular. An attack on US assets on Indian bases will give us the required 'bahana'. While the Cheen is busy defending against the US in the east, we go fast and hard and sever the link that connects our two biggest enemies. Maybe liberate Tibet while we are at it. It would be a below the belt punch, but I think the cheeneese deserve nothing better.

not that they dont deserve it or i have newfound love for them, but how do you think they will respond in such case? This is where nations start talking about nukes..

ArjunPandit
BRFite
Posts: 1285
Joined: 29 Mar 2017 06:37

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby ArjunPandit » 13 Sep 2018 13:36

from the discussion on last 2 pages, COMCASA signing seems to be positive

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12859
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Sep 2018 14:10

COMCASA is I suspect largely geared towards ensuring that US/Aus/Jpn/IN can interoperate effectively in IOR/POR and keep PLAN in check
for this Uncle's massive surveillance and EW capability has to be leveraged as the backbone across both ORs

Trikaal
BRFite
Posts: 477
Joined: 19 Jul 2017 08:01

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Trikaal » 13 Sep 2018 14:27

ArjunPandit wrote:not that they dont deserve it or i have newfound love for them, but how do you think they will respond in such case? This is where nations start talking about nukes..

I don't think they will go for nukes. Lets break down the situation. China is trying hard and barely managing to keep US out of their Eastern belt. If US gets any more support, they will probably break through and Beijing itself might fall. In such a scenario, imagine India attacks just shaksgam valley and aksai chin. If you were Xi(or whoever is ruling china at that point), would u authorize nuk3 strikes for the protection of these barren lands? Note that if they fire even 1 nuke, then India becomes 100% committed yo march all the way upto Beijing with US and then carve the spoils of victory to make up for the losses. Would u want 2 of the biggest armies in the world to threaten ur heartland or just give up on some rocks and try to live to reclaim them again another day.

Nukes will fly only if India seems to be going for Chinese mainland. Tibet, however is the grey area here and it will be difficult to predict China's actions in that case.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12859
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Sep 2018 15:31

they will goad NoKo into nukes, won't do it themselves

SaiK
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35889
Joined: 29 Oct 2003 12:31
Location: NowHere

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby SaiK » 16 Sep 2018 01:28

read this with full brain & strongly focused and see the in-betweens.
The COMCASA will allow India to receive high-end military communications equipment from the US and will also help get real-time encrypted information from the US.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17496
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: COMCASA Signing By India: A Trap or Unshackling?

Postby chetak » 21 Sep 2018 19:33

COMCASA - The Bigger Picture

COMCASA - The Bigger Picture

Lt Gen (Dr) V K Saxena (Retd), PVSM,AVSM,VSM, Distinguished Fellow, VIF

September 19 , 2018

In the context of the signing of Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) between US and India on 06 Sep 2018 during the 2+2 dialogue1, this article attempts to analyse the bigger picture. In that, it traces the journey of consolidation of military-to-military (M2M) ties between United States (US) and India as seen in the context of defence procurements and examines the multiple dimensions of the strategic agreements between the two countries.


India and US ink COMCASA
https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&t ... &q=COMCASA)
To make a visible presence in an inventory of weapon and support systems with our defence forces that has had a predominant Russian (and erstwhile USSR) presence (up to around 67%), the US had to surmount many an obstacles. This journey of US is briefly chronicled.

The ‘NO-GO’ Stage

In the years around 1990-2010, the basic hurdle which the Americans faced was the incompatibility of their Foreign Military Sales (FMS) methodology for the sale of defence equipment to a foreign country. This procedure, which basically related to Government-to-Government (G2G) mode of sales was not covered in the successive Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) manuals governing India’s defence procurements. Resultantly, in our procurement procedures of initially seeking information (Request for Information or RFI), formulating Services Qualitative Requirements (SQRs), sending out Requests for Proposals (RFP), receiving bids, evaluating them, carrying out trials of selected equipment and going in for price and contract negotiations including offsets for the successfully trial evaluated equipment, kept the Americans out of the game, most of the times from the RFI stage itself.

The FMS had a different route of the buyer country putting in a letter of request (LOR), which upon a long chain of Government level clearances would finally result in a Letter of Acceptance (LOA). Since this was not in synch with the procedure being followed for bulk of the procurement cases, several US major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) stayed out of many a high value lucrative procurement proposals; Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORADS) - Short Range/Quick Reaction/Medium Range Surface To Air Missiles (SRSAM/QRSAMs/MRSAMs), to name a few.

Then there was a huge issue of Transfer of Technology (ToT). The FMS system of sales mandated that the sale must be authorised by the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the sales may only be authorised when the US President made a determination that the prospective purchaser was ‘eligible’2. Under such stringent pathways, the most insurmountable hurdle used to be the US’ reluctance to share technology to the extent our defence eco-system was used to with the OEMs like Russia, Israel, France, UK etc.

The First Thaw Happens

Sensing the blank which the US was drawing in the Indian defence procurements largely because of differing bureaucratic processes and legal requirements, the then US Secretary of State, Mr Leon Panetta, directed the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Dr. Aston Charter in Dec 2012 to undertake an initiative with India to provide increased US senior level oversight and engagement to get beyond the obstacles. This initiative was referred to as Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).

DTTI was not meant to be a treaty or a law; it was to be a flexible mechanism to ensure that senior leaders from both the countries were persistently focussed on the opportunities and challenges associated with growing the defence partnership. DTTI aimed to transform bilateral defence relationship into one that was limited only by independent strategic decisions, strengthen India's defence industrial base, explore new areas of technological collaboration and expand US-India bilateral ties. Later in the day, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister (PM) Modi would express their total support to DTTI in their meeting in Jan 20153.


Top Level Support to DTTI

https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&b ... initiative)
As successive DTTIs got underway, a feeling of thaw by way of easing out of the erstwhile ‘NO-GO’ stance of the US came to be noticed. They seemed to be more forthcoming as regards the willingness to sell and the willingness to part with technologies (of course with due clearances by the authorities that be) by taking part up-front in the procurement procedures.

One of the initial major deliberations related to the deal for G2G sale of 145 pieces of M 777 155/45 calibre ultra light howitzers. In this, not only the US later selected an Indian Partner (Mahindra Defence) for assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) of the weapon system, but also agreed for the Transfer of Capability ( TOC, i.e ToT plus) to Mahindra4. The deal for Rs, 5000 cr finally got signed in Dec 16.

The DTTI Gets Wings: M2M Ties Bloom

The thaw continued to get warmer as DTTI flourished and embraced more and more defence deals till it got a shot in the arm with the declaration of the Make-in-India initiative of the Indian Government announced on 25 Sep 2014. A new regime of joint development, joint production, buy back, joint ventures (JVs) and memoranda of understanding (MoU) was to take shape and take firm roots in the years to come, duly complemented by gradual coming of age of the private defence industry.

The DTTI took full advantage of the new enabling defence eco system and made the best of it in terms of defence sales, all on G2G basis. It bloomed out into seven joint working groups (JWG) to explore collaborative projects and programmes and two Science and Technology G2G Project agreements, the first one on next generation protective ensembles and the second on mobile hybrid power sources. The core defence deals climbed from $1 bn to over $ 15 bn in a matter of few years. 13 Lockheed Martin C 130 Hercules aircrafts, 10 C -17 Globemaster, 12 P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Boeing, 22 AH 64 Apache helicopters, 15 CH 47 Chinook helicopters, 145 M777 Howitzers, all contributed to push the figures northwards5. As to JVs, way back in 2012, Tata Advanced System Ltd (TASL) and Lockheed Martin established a JV to produce C 130 airframes components (50th empennage delivered in 2016). TASL also established a JV with M/s Sikorsky to produce S-92 helicopter cabins.


TASL-Lockheed Martin JV 2012

(Source: https: www.google. co.in/search?hl=en&biw=1366&bih=632&tbm =isch&sa=1&ei=iwaVW46qN8ao9QPnzYugDQ&q=TASL+JV+with+Lockheed+Martin)
Besides core defence deals, strategic handshake also took place between India and USA: the latter designated India as a Major Defence Partner (Dec 2016), a new Bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue was launched (Apr 2016), President Obama and PM Modi issued a Joint Strategic Vision for Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) (Jun 2015), annual Exercise Malabar expanded to include Japan as a permanent member, India twice participated in Rim of the Pacific ( RIMPAC) exercises, Indian Air Force (IAF) resumed Exercise Red Flag, and India and US for the first time concluded a joint Peacekeeping Course. It is no wonder therefore that according to a report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), US arms exports to India jumped by a whopping 557 percent in the period 2013-17 as compared to the period 2008-12, thus making it India's second largest arms supplier.

It is in this high tide of bilateral relations that the strategic agreements between USA and India should be examined.

A Trio of Strategic Agreements

In order to build the basic ground work and promote interoperability between militaries by creating common standards and systems and to permit the sale and transfer of high-end technologies, US considers a trio of strategic agreements to be gone through with the country concerned. These are Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (COMCASA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation (BECA)6. A word about each follows.

LEMOA

LEMOA gives access to both countries to the designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment. LEMOA essentially covers four areas, namely, port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The agreement is not closed-ended, it can include any other requirement as agreeable to the two parties. That is to say, that logistic support for any other cooperative efforts could be provided on a case-to-case basis through mutual consent of parties consistent with their respective laws, regulations and policies. Payments are on cash or reciprocal provision of service basis7. LEMOA however does not include basing facilities of stationing/deploying assets or troops on each other's soil.

What are the fall outs of LEMOA? It gives a tremendous range and reach enhancement to the Indian Navy. For instance, its vessels operating anywhere in the international waters could get every logistic support from any of the US bases spread across the globe. The possible list for such a support is very comprehensive- food, billeting, water, medical services, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, storage services, training services, spare parts, component repair and maintenance services, calibration services and port services. Not only for the Indian Navy, but also, for the entire Indian armed forces, LEMOA will significantly enhance their operational capacity in their response to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and more. Take for instance, the multinational naval Exercise Malabar 2018 which was conducted in the Guam island in the Western Pacific. The US naval base at Guam stood as a firm base under LEMOA for all the above support for the Indian vessels since LEMOA based support is applicable for joint training, joint exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

While the LEMOA got signed in Aug 2016, a major fallout of this happened in Feb 2017 when Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) led Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd (RDEL) signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement ( MSRA) with US Navy to provide repair and alteration service for the ships of the US Seventh Fleet consisting of some 100 vessels operating in the Western Pacific and IOR region at its Pipavav Shipyard. This was made possible under LEMOA. The magnitude of the deal can be assessed from the fact that the same is likely to generate in excess of 10,000 cr in revenue to RDEL in the next five years8.


RDEL signs warship repair deal with US Navy

(Source:https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&biw=1366&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=AB2VWbOK8TXvASmobaADw&q=Reliance+deal+with+ USA)
It is not that the logistic cooperation arrangements were not in place earlier. For instance, US was using Indian military bases for logistics during joint exercises but those arrangements were ad hoc and managed on case-to-case basis. In one-on-one terms, India will stand to gain more from LEMOA simply because of the fact that while US has bases spread all over the world, India's outreach in far seas is limited for want of any bases and agreements. LEMOA opens up new opportunities to extend our outreach not only in alien international waters, but also, in the indo pacific region itself (reference is to a possibility of use of US bases at Djibouti or Diego Garcia)9.

COMCASA

COMCASA is the India adapted version of standard strategic agreement called Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Understanding (CISMOA; Egypt is a signatory of CISMOA with US10). The signing of this foundational agreement provides a legal framework for the US to transfer high-end defence equipment to India that features encrypted communication network and enables optimal use of platforms employing such equipment.

As chronicled earlier, India in the recent past has procured large military platforms such as C 130J Super Hercules special mission transport aircraft, P 81 long range maritime reconnaissance and anti submarine jets and C 17 Globe Master III heavy transport aircrafts. All these high-end platforms use encrypted radio and other equipment to which India had no access. To fill this critical equipment void indigenous technology/equipment was being fielded, which was suboptimal. With COMCASA on board, these platforms would be able to use the high-end equipment designed for them in an uninhibited way realising their true potential11. Take for instance the ongoing dialogue between US and India for the procurement of Sea Guardian armed drones. US had made it clear that to be able to use the encrypted communication equipment on board the said drone, COMCASA will be a prerequisite12. In another hypothetical interpretation, if India was to buy the F-16 versions of aircrafts in future, the same will now come duly equipped with highly secure systems which will allow Indian pilots to access and operate on a larger intelligence picture which will include high resolution imagery among other things permitting far greater operational flexibility and paradigm enhancement in levels of inter-operability13.



Signing of COMCASA

(Source://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en& ... 2VW4nGHMP_ vATt6pnAAg&q=comcasa&oq=COMCASA)

Effective for 10 years from the date of signing (06 Sep 18) COMCASA will further boost interoperability, as well as, share operational intelligence in real time in the years ahead. In specifics, if a US warship or aircraft detects a Chinese submarine in the IOR, the intelligence can be shared in real time over COMCASA protected equipment14. Basically, with COMCASA done, India will get an access to US Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS). This system is a collection of huge wide area networks (WAN) spread across the coalition known as enclaves. CENTRIXs permit secure exchange of dialogues between nations in text and web-based formats.

On the flip side, all is not positive with COMCASA. Experts have called this agreement as intrusive since it will work both ways. In that, while India will receive real-time intelligence over the COMCASA protected links, it will also mean a free access to US on our intelligence gathered over such equipment which for any reason whatsoever, we would not like to share with any country (in this case, US will become an unstoppable exception). What about the confidentiality of intelligence gained – but a casualty. One can also imagine the difficulty and apprehensions in integrating Russian origin equipment across dissimilar platforms featuring COMCASA protected equipment. We might be opening a communication and intelligence highway over systems and connections which may not be in the best interest of our right to privacy and confidentiality of certain matters at the national level. In some previous joint exercises with US, the sensors on board the Russian based equipment were to be switched off. Will we be able to prevent an unsolicited "US snoop". Also COMCASA protected equipment may have to be opened up for periodic inspection. Are we ready? Times of India queries, "India joins NATO - well almost"15. The reference is to COMCASA enabled link 16 communication system originally designed for NATO. This link allows near real time exchange of data among various security systems which militaries use on the NATO grid.

Another fall out of COMCASA will be that India will now be slowly drawn into the US defence industry net where major OEMs will be far too willing to sell sophisticated defence equipment complete with the lure of COMCASA enabled equipment on board. There are reports of M/s Lockheed Martin already offering the next generation F 18 while the others are lining up for drones and artillery. To facilitate this process, another less famous and less known agreement than COMCASA also got signed. It relates to licence exception for strategically designated countries in terms of defence licensing and exports.

China has actually echoed its ‘worry and concern’ in antonym terms. In that, while it has couched its reaction in diplomatic niceties and welcome terms at one end, it has never failed to add the bottom line of concern at the other. In regard to COMCASA, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said, "As to2+2 consultations between India and US, we have seen the report...we are happy to see the normal bilateral relations between the two sides and we also hope that in this process, they will do more to promote regional peace and stability.” This is reminiscent of Chinese reaction to Malabar 2018, when they said, "We have no objection to the normal bilateral relations and cooperation among relevant countries, but we hope that this kind of relationship and cooperation will not be directed at any third party and will be conducive to the regional peace and stability"16.

Though the open source does not report a specific reaction from Russia, its unease to the rapidly intensifying western (read US) order in India is well known. It is reported that Russia, China and Mangolia are preparing for Vostok 2018 a tri-service 300,000 troops exercise involving two naval fleets and an airborne division17. The chessboard of weights and counter weights thus continues to be in play posing great challenges and demanding tight- rope walking for India.

In any case, the changing dynamics over the years from the US perspective comes out loud and clear. The same is summarised below.

Way back in 2010 or thereabouts (post signing of the civil nuclear deal), it dawned on US that there was no point standing out with the banner of FMS complete with all its crippling restrictions on ToT while the largest arms exporter of the world continues to process multiple big ticket procurement cases, all minus US. That realisation ushered in the idea of DTTI, which was rolled out very cautiously initially, causing minimum big change and gradually fanning out in a huge sway of seven JWGs each focussed to its own vertical. As the DTTIs were making a slow but sure progress, Make-in-India happened (Sep 2014) bringing with it a new defence eco-system of JVs, co-development, co-production with buy back and MoUs on specific verticals. Not only the DTTI got a shot in the arm, there was no looking back as the glare of top of the line technology and combat platforms coupled with a definitive easing in intent to share the technologies under the new regime of Make-in -India, made India look towards US. The above win-win vehicle was given regular push by US to keep it in high momentum; declaring India as a major defence partner, expanding the scope and quantum of Malabar, increasing M2M ties through deliberate joint endeavours, issuance of vision statements by US President and its reciprocity by the Indian PM are all cases in point.

It was time to start rolling out the strategic agreement trio to ensure Indian residency in the US led regional, diplomatic and military initiatives. LEMOA happened which was indeed seen as win-win for both the parties. This was followed by COMCASA (along with lesser known STA-1) two years later, complete with all its plusses and minuses as discussed in this work

The next on the line is Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial cooperation. BECA is likely to facilitate exchange of geospatial information between the two countries for civilian and military use18.

Way ahead for India

In regard to the strategic agreements stated above, while maximum advantage must be reaped from each and every agreement, due caution must be exercised as regards COMCASA in the context of several pitfalls, as stated in this work.

End Notes:

"What is COMCASA," at www.thehindu.com. (Accessed 07 Sep 2018).
"Foreign military sales procedure and policy," at www.state.gov.in ( Accessed 08 Sep 2018).
"US India defence technology and trade initiative," at www.acq.osd.mil. (Accessed 08 Sep 2018).
"India signs 5000cr deal with US for 145 M777 Howitzer guns," at www.financialexpress.com. (Accessed
08 Sep 2018).
"US India defence relations fact sheet," at www.in.usembassy.gov. (Accessed 08 Sep 2018).
”What is LEMOA?" at www.thehindu.com. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
"India and UN," at www.pib.nic.in. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
ibid
"LEMOA" at www.iasscore.in. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
"Egypt signs cismoa," at www.defenceweb.co.za>id=51147. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
"Make no mistakes signing of comcasa is no less important than the 2008 civil nuclear deal," at www.firstpost.com. ( Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
"India US to re-open talks on comcasa," at www.economictimes.indiatimes.com. (Accessed 09 Sep
2018).
"2+2 dialogue India US step up defence ties with comcasa," at www. firstpost.com. (Accessed 09 Sep
2018).
"Comcasa agreement will pave way for-...," at www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. (Accessed 09 Sep
2018).
" India joins NATO? well almost," at www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).
" Malabar navy exercise : China expresses concern" at www.indianexpress.com. (Accessed 09 Sep
2018).
ibid
" LEMOA CISMOA BECA," at www.gktoday.in. (Accessed 09 Sep 2018).


Return to “Military Issues & History Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JayS and 29 guests