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India, US Expand Defense Ties By Signing A Deal

The U.S. and India also agreed to hold a new military exercise. The exercise will involve sea, land, and air forces. It will occur of the eastern coast of India in 2019.

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US, India Ink Deal to Expand Defense Ties Wikimedia Commons.

The United States and India took a major step to expand defense ties Thursday, signing a deal that allows India to acquire high-end U.S. weaponry, including armed drones.

The agreement was signed during a meeting in New Delhi among U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and their Indian counterparts.

The U.S. earlier this year offered armed Guardian drones to India, but the sale could not go through until the agreement, known as COMCASA, was reached.

“The landmark agreement deepens our military to military cooperation and our ability to share the most advanced defense technology, making us both stronger,” Mattis said.

If the Guardian sale goes through, India would become the first non-NATO country to buy armed U.S. drones.

The deal reflects growing ties between the U.S. and India – the world’s two largest democracies – both of whom are concerned about China’s rising power.

Defense cooperation, in particular, has emerged as the “most significant dimension” of the U.S.-India relationship, said Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

 

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Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis before the start of the 2+2 meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.VOA

 

U.S.-India ties, she said, have reached “unprecedented heights.”

Iran, Russia disagreements

The U.S. and India haven’t always been this close. India, which has historically tried to be neutral in world affairs, has bristled at what it considers U.S. restraints on its foreign policy decisions.

Most recently, the U.S. has taken issue with India’s purchase of oil from Iran and its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system. Both moves would violate U.S. sanctions.

A Pentagon official last month threatened to impose sanctions on India if it goes ahead with its $6 billion purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

But in their public comments Thursday, neither side mentioned the Russia or Iran disputes. And the S-400 never came up in private discussions with India’s defense and external affairs ministers, said Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for South and Southeast Asia Joe Felter.

Iran also “wasn’t a big topic,” he said.

Most of India’s weapons are Russian-made, a legacy of India’s Cold War relationship with the Soviet Union. The U.S. is currently India’s second-largest weapons supplier.

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U.S. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meet with their counterparts Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Indian Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman for the 2+2 meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, India. VOA

But U.S. military sales to India have expanded rapidly – going from zero in 2008 to $15 billion this year. That figure now stands to increase, with the new agreement in place.

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“It comes down to trust. Some of this tech is very sensitive. Some countries we don’t want this tech to fall in the hands of,” Felter said, adding the U.S. has similar agreements with less than 30 countries.

The U.S. and India also agreed to hold a new military exercise. The exercise will involve sea, land, and air forces. It will occur of the eastern coast of India in 2019. (VOA)

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India Sold Over 204 mn WiFi Devices in 2018: Report

The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base

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As many as 204.5 million WiFi enabled consumer devices were sold in 2018, with mobile phones contributing close to 90 per cent of the sales, a new report said on Tuesday.

According to market research firm techARC, WiFi sale of enabled devices is expected to grow at 8 per cent in 2019 with sales touching 221 million units, primarily led by smart and connected devices for home and office automation.

“The future lies in wireless highspeed connectivity and WiFi offers one of the most reliable and affordable alternatives to it. We have seen so far WiFi enablement through legacy IT and communications devices like laptops, routers and smartphones.

“This is now shifting to other consumer electronics like TVs, lighting, ACs and refrigerators. At the same time, it’s also penetrating into automobiles as well as other traditionally dumb IT peripherals like storage devices,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at techARC, said in a statement.

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Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

In terms of active user base, the research firm estimates India is having close to 600 million consumer devices being used for communication, productivity, entertainment and other smart and connected use cases.

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The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base.

However, the growth will be seen more in smart TVs including streaming devices as well as other home automation/smart devices leveraging WiFi connectivity. (IANS)