India, US to share military logistics

India, US to share military logistics

India, US  to  share military logistics

 Setting aside years of rejection, India on Tuesday has agreed to sign a pact with the USA, which would allow the two militaries to share their logistics.

The pact would also allow access to each other’s bases under specific circumstances.
The two sides announced their in principle agreement to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement—a tweaked version of the previous logistics support agreement (LSA)—though it would take few weeks more to finalise the draft.

Asked if the agreement would lead to opening up of Indian bases for US troops, Parrikar asserted that the agreement would provide support for each other’s military platforms and not for deploying US troops on Indian soil.

The defence minister said permission to the US platforms for using the Indian bases would be on a case to case basis. In return, India may get access to the US bases in Djibouti or Diego Garcia.

“We agreed in principle to conclude the LEMA in the coming months,” he said.
“The agreement would make it more routine for us to operate here logistically so that we don't need separate agreement for each exercise,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.

In a television interview, Carter clarified the agreement was not binding on either party and the US military can use the Indian bases only if they are invited by the Indian government.

Three pacts
The logistics agreement was one of the three pacts proposed by the USA after the two sides inked a framework agreement on defence cooperation in 2005. Washington claimed bilateral military could flourish only if New Delhi signed these documents.

Besides the LSA, other two pacts under discussions are the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement.

The UPA regime and its defence minister A K Antony developed cold feet on these agreements due to political reasons and they were shelved.

The NDA government, however, stated it would have a relook at the US proposal. Both Carter and Parrikar ruled out the possibility of US troops operating from Indian soil. In a written reply to questions in the Lok Sabha in 2007, former external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee stated LSA would not affect the independence of India’s foreign policy, rather it would rather provide a “framework for mutual logistical support when deploying defence resources in disaster relief operations or joint exercises.”

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