New Delhi: Pentagon’s Missile defense review (MDR) 2019 has said United States has discussed ‘potential missile defence cooperation’ with India. The MDR 2019 asserted that discussion were part of “natural outgrowth” of India’s status as a Major Defence Partner and ‘key element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy’. Also Read - Pakistan Ready to Resolve All Outstanding Issues With India Through Dialogue, Says Imran Khan

As per the review, the talks between Washington and New Delhi took place even as ‘number of states in South Asia are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities’. The development comes months after India and Russia signed S-400 deal during President Putin’s India visit last year. Also Read - Ladakh Standoff: What India, China Discussed During 16-Hour Long Military-Level Talks | Read Here

The 108 page document talks about Washington’s alliance in the Indo Pacific region and said cornerstone of “our security and diplomacy in Indo-Pacific region is our strong bilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea, and Australia, “and emerging security relationships with others such as India.” Also Read - Ladakh Standoff: India-China Hold 10th Round of Military Talks For Further Disengagement | What to Expect

In 2018, US granted India Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) & both New Delhi & Washington signed Comcasa (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement). India is the only south asian country to get STA1 and 3rd Asian country after Japan and South Korea. The status eases defence procurement from US.COMCASA, is an India specific foundational legal arrangement & helps New Delhi get real time classified information especially on maritime development. It was signed in New Delhi during the maiden 2+2 dialogue between American and Indian Defence and foreign ministers.

The review focused on China and Russia. On China the review said Beijing ‘seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and reorder the region to its advantage’  and ‘Offensive missiles play an increasingly prominent role in China’s military modernisation, its coercive threats, and efforts to counter U.S. military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific’.

The review says China has ‘deployed 75-100 Intercontinental ballistic missile’ and possesses 4 advanced JIN class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

On Russia it said that the country is developing ‘S-500 as an even more modern and technologically advanced air and missile defence system’, in addition to this Moscow ‘has transferred missile defence technology to China and Iran” both of which are “expanding and modernising mobile missile defence capabilities.’

Russia and China are also developing Potential Adversary Missile Defence and Anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities that could ‘threaten U.S. space-based assets.’

Japan and South Korea are already working with the US to build missile defence systems that are inter-operable with US defences. Australia participates in a trilateral discussion on missile defence with the United States and Japan. The United States and Australia meet annually to discuss bilateral missile defence cooperation.

(With inputs from Sidhant Sibal, Zee Media)