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India, US Sign Military Logistics Pact

Bhatnagar writes: The signing of LEMOA between India, an emerging power and US signals emergence of a ‘Strategic Partnership’ which has portends of changing the regional geostrategic landscape.

Bhatnagar writes: The signing of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) between India, an emerging power and US signals emergence of a ‘Strategic Partnership’ which has portends of changing the regional geo-strategic landscape.

India and US on 29 Aug 2016 signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which is one of the four ‘foundational agreements’ that the US enters into with its defence partners. With LEMOA, India has signed two of the four. The agreement will give the militaries of both countries access to each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said in a joint statement that LEMOA “will facilitate additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange.”[i] The statement has deep meaning in the prevailing geopolitical environment.

LEMOA is an enabling agreement, a tweaked version of Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and does not make logistical support automatic or obligatory for either party and nor does it involve allowing military bases either[ii]. Earlier after signing the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002, India was apprehensive of singing the other three agreements to avoid getting too close to the US with implications on its strategic autonomy.

Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence are the two pending agreements. Though no time lines have been set for signing of these agreements; it may be logical to assume that vigorous negotiations must be underway between the two sides to frame the agreements keeping into view the national interests and sensitivities of the two countries.

However, the signing of LEMOA between India, an emerging power and US signals emergence of a ‘Strategic Partnership’ which has portends of changing the regional geostrategic landscape. While a surge in violence in Af-Pak region concerns US on one hand, an increasingly assertive China in South China Sea is a challenge in the Asia-Pacific on the other hand.  An emerging India too faces the same challenges. Turbulence in Af-Pak region has implications on the ongoing proxy war by Pakistan in Kashmir with obvious adverse implications for India. While the bilateral relations between India and China have improved considerably over a period of time, an environment of strategic mistrust remains with India remaining apprehensive of increasing Chinese footprints in its strategic neighbourhood.

Further, to maintain strategic balance in the region, it is imperative that a synergy is developed between US rebalance to Asia-Pacific and India’s desired reach towards the east in the Indo-Pacific. India needs state of art defence equipment and access to niche technologies under its ‘Make in India’ initiative. The signing of LEMOA is also significant as it will facilitate innovative and advanced opportunities in defence technology and trade cooperation. US has agreed to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners.[iii] It is important to note that US is already India’s largest arms supplier and the most valued supporter for its quest for membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group. Therefore, in the prevailing geopolitical environment, US and India emerge as natural partners and it may not be naïve to assume that the strategic partnership between the two countries will reach further higher levels in times to come.

End Notes

 

[i] India, US sign military logistics pact, The Hindu Aug 30,2016

[ii] US troops can use Indian bases: 10 things to know, The Economic Times Apr 13,2016

[iii] India, US sign military logistics pact, The Hindu Aug 30,2016

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One thought on “India, US Sign Military Logistics Pact

  1. balka5459 says:

    A good analysis

     

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