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Strategic Trade Authorisation Upgradation – Next Step in Indo US Defence Relations

India United States bilateral 2 + 2 (Defence + Foreign Ministers) joint strategic dialogue has been postponed.  However high-level visits are continuing thereby indicating the potential of engagement between the two countries remains strong due to institutional mechanisms in an era of uncertainty in domestic politics, particularly in Washington. While India US defence cooperation is continuing apace. There are developments on all form factors from high-level visits, (with the navy chief and chairman chiefs of staff committee Admiral Sunil Lanba in the United States from 19 to 23 March 2018), training, exercises and defence sales on stream, what next continues to bug policymakers on both sides. There is unlikely to be any push in India to sign the foundational agreements as CISMOA or BECA given political ferment in the country. Nor any big-ticket sales are in the offing shortly even though much speculation on India acquiring combat fighters from the United States ranging from the F16 to F 35 with Boeing F 18 is emerging in the media. A potential short-term development could be the United States upgrading India under the Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) from group 2 to Group 1..................................

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