India to share Military Logistics with US

American aircraft and warships will soon be able to access Indian military bases for refuelling, repair and other logistical purposes, in a move that will help the US “re-balance“ 60% of its naval forces to the Asia Pacific to counter China.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter announced that the two countries “have agreed in principle“ to share military logistics, which will now lead to inking of the bilateral Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). Top Indian officials clarified that the “reciprocal“ logistics pact was only meant to facilitate military cooperation, especially for the flurry of bilateral combat exercises as well as humanitarian aid operations in the region, and was not aimed at forging any sort of military alliance against China.
India and the US will further bolster maritime security cooperation, which will include stepping up the complexity of combat exercises and talks on anti-submarine warfare, but there are no plans for joint naval patrols in the contentious South China Sea or elsewhere. “India has not changed its stand (on joint patrols),“ the defence minister said. Parrikar and Carter stressed that LEMOA didn't entail stationing of any US troops on Indian soil, even as officials added India would not extend support in the event of any US military action against “friendly countries“. “We can refuse access to our bases whenever we want,“ said an official.
But the agreement does mark a major paradigm shift from the previous UPA regime, which had steadfastly stonewalled US push for India to ink the so-called “foundational agreements“ on logistics as well as the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) for well over a decade. Then defence minister A K Antony , had opposed the three foundational pacts on the grounds that they would “compromise“ India's traditional strategic autonomy and give “basing rights“ to the US military in India. While the Modi government still has some reservations against CISMOA and BECA, it says India and the US are institutionalizing through LEMOA what already happens “on a case-tocase basis“,. The LEMOA or Logistics Support Agreement, modelled on the Acquisition and CrossServicing Agreements the US has inked with scores of its military allies and other countries, envisages Indian and American militaries providing logistics support, refuelling and berthing facilities for each other's warships and aircraft on a barter or an equal-value exchange basis. Carter, who met PM Modi and NSA Ajit Doval, said LEMOA will make it “more routine and automatic“ for Indian and American forces to operate together.

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