On Tuesday, during a historic 2+2 India-US meeting, the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted about India’s new relationship which had a host of acronyms. The current dispensation’s love for acronyms is quite well-known which include clever alliterations like SCAM, VIKAS, NITI, JAM, PRAGATI, and so forth.
Now, the acronym-love went up a notch after the US and India 2+2 meet which would purportedly take away an International Affairs student's peace and put him in deep conflict.
Perhaps this led to The Hindu’s Ananth Krishnan quip: “After BECA, that follows LEMOA and CISMOA, a USN LO will be at IFC-IOR and Indian LO at NAVCENT, greater coordination with CENTCOM and AFRICOM and setting up of COMSEC account, says RM, after he and EAM attend 2+2 where Pompeo hits out at CCP. Am I missing any acronyms?”
Well if too many acronyms make your head spin, here’s the cheat sheet:
BECA – Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation
Basically, Uncle Sam will now allow India access to crucial information including a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data. Hopefully, will work when it’s cloudy too.
LEMOA – Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
A tweaked India version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), it was signed by the late Manohar Parrikar and is one of America’s three foundational agreements with close allies. Will give access to military facilities of both countries for ‘refuelling and replenishment’.
CISMOA - Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement
India-specific version of COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), which the US signs with close allies. Will allow greater cooperation between militaries. Will allow New Delhi to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US-origin military platforms like C-17, C-130, and P-8Is.
IFC-IOR - INFORMATION FUSION CENTRE – INDIAN OCEAN REGION
Initiated by Indian Navy, a partnership to exchange swift and accurate info for maritime security. Its website says: “IFC-IOR is established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region. Establishment of IFC- IOR would ensure that the entire region is benefitted by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.”
USN LO (United States Navy Liaison Officer)
The USN LO will be present at the IFC-IOR to work with the Indian Navy. For the uninitiated, a liaison officer works between two organisations to communicate and coordinate their activities.
CENTCOM (US Central Command)
The USCENTCOM or just CENTCOM refers to military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability. Its goals include deterring Iran, negotiating resolution for Afghanistan and making sure ISIS stays defeated in Syria and Iraq.
AFRICOM (US Africa Command)
The US Africa Command is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to its website: “ AFRICOM employs the broad-reaching diplomacy, development, and defence approach to foster interagency efforts and help negate the drivers of conflict and extremism in Africa.”
RM (Raksha Mantri)
RM is the acronym used in India for the Raksha Mantri or the Defence Minister. India has interestingly had four Defence Ministers in the last six years. First, we had the late Arun Jaitley, then Manohar Parrikar. Both have sadly passed away. Later, the ministry was handled by Nirmala Sitharaman – the current Finance Minister – and now Rajnath Singh who is the former Home Minister. Interestingly, the last 2+2 Indo-US dialogue was attended by the late Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman.
EAM – External Affairs Minister
EAM stands for External Affairs Minister. While Dr S Jaishankar represented India this time, it was Sushma Swaraj who had attended the last 2+2 meeting.
CCP – Chinese Communist Party
The founding and sole governing party of the People’s Republic of China, which has a better electoral record than even the BJP in India.
Interestingly, while both US members of the delegation named the CCP, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar refrained from naming Beijing or the CCP.