Brothers in arms: India, US sign military logistics agreement

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (L) and India's Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar shake hands after attending a press conference at the Pentagon on August 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, India Aug 30, 2016, 02.23 AM (IST) Ramesh Ramachandran
India and the US have signed a defence pact allowing the two countries to use each others military bases.  

The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement or LEMOA allows the American and Indian militaries to use each others bases for the purposes of docking, berthing, refuelling, and the replenishment of supplies. 

The agreement was signed following talks between the Indian defence minister Mr Manohar Parrikar and his American counterpart, the US defence secretary Ashton Carter, at the Pentagon.

Parrikar, at a joint news conference with Carter after the two leaders held talks at the Pentagon yesterday, made it clear that "there is no provision for any base or any sort of activities to set up a base in India”. 

"It (LEMOA) doesn't have anything to do with the setting up of base. It's basically logistics support to each other's fleet, like supply of fuel, supply of many other things which are required for joint operations, humanitarian assistance and many other relief operations.

"So, it basically will ensure that both navies can be supportive of each other in the joint venture operations we do, exercises we do," Parrikar told reporters.

Carter said the agreement would make joint operations between their militaries logistically easier and more efficient. 

"It is fully mutual. In other words, we grant one another completely equal access and ease under this agreement. It's not a basing agreement of any kind, but it does make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient," he said.

India and the US had agreed in principle to sign the pact in April this year when Carter visited New Delhi, but the details were still to be finalised. 

LEMOA is similar to the Logistics Support Agreement or LSA which the US has signed with some of its closest defence partners but its (LEMOA’s) language has been tweaked to accommodate India's sensitivities and concerns. 

The US has been pushing India to sign the the LSA since 2004 but the then Indian government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had had concerns such an agreement would commit it to hosting US troops at its bases, or draw it into a military alliance with the United States and undermine its traditional autonomy. 

(With inputs from agencies)