PM allays fears over EUMA

No provision for unilateral access to Indian military bases by the US

“There is no provision for on-site inspections or granting of access to any military site or sensitive areas,” Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

During the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit last week, external affairs minister S M Krishna and Clinton announced finalising the EUMA which will facilitate procuring US military hardware. The formal pact would be inked later. 

But since it was not clear whether India will allow on-site verification and provide access to military bases, the announcement prompted the Left and BJP to accuse UPA of becoming subservient to the US interests.

Sovereign right

“Nothing in the text compromises India’s sovereignty. There was no provision for any unilateral action by the US side with regard to inspection or related matters,” Singh said. India has the sovereign right to jointly decide, including through joint consultations, the verification procedure.

Any verification has to follow a request and has to be on a mutually acceptable date and at a mutually acceptable venue, Singh said. Originating from the US Arms Export Control Act, EUMA comes with stringent conditions like prior US permission to laterally transfer of equipment – from Army to the Navy or Border Security Force for example – and opening up the military base to foreign inspectors.

It also entails snap inspection on the basis of what the USA believes are “credible reports” on the alleged misuse of a platform and constant endeavour on the part of the buying nation to show it is worthy of the US trust.

Five EUMA

In the last seven years India signed at least five EUMA with the USA on a case by case basis. The first one is believed to have been signed by the NDA government to purchase 12 weapon locating radars in 2002.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, however, denied signing any such monitoring agreement while signing the ANTPQ deal. The Prime Minister, however, mentioned that monitoring pacts were initialised in the past.

“What we have now agreed with the US is a generic formulation which will apply to future such supplies that India chooses to undertake. By agreeing to a generic formulation, we have introduced an element of predictability in what is otherwise an ad hoc case by case negotiation on each occasion,” the Prime Minister said.

DH News Service

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