A wary China on Friday welcomed the first 2+2 Dialogue between India and the US but declined to comment on the landmark security pact under which Indian military will have access to critical and encrypted American defense technologies. The ‘Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA)’ was signed on Thursday after the first 2+2 talks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
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. Asked about China’s reaction on the Indo-US talks and COMCASA agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “As to the 2+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.”
She, however, did not respond to the question on the COMCASA. On the India-US call for maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region, Hua said, “About the security navigation in the sea, we uphold the legal rights entitled in the international law and we also hope parties can do real things to ensure freedom of navigation.”
Referring to maritime cooperation during the first edition of the 2+2 talks, India and the US expressed commitment to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The two sides also discussed cross-border terrorism, India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the contentious H1B visa issue, and ways to deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.