You are here

India-US Defence Cooperation

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • September 02, 2016

    During the visit of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter to India in April this year, India and the United States had agreed “in principle” on a logistics support agreement which was first proposed in 2004. After years of deliberations, India and the United States formally signed this agreement known as Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) this Monday in Washington DC, during Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the United States.

    LEMOA is a facilitating agreement which is likely to enhance efficiency of joint military activities and operations launched by India and the United States whenever they decide to undertake. With this agreement, India and United States will also be able to avail access to each other’s military facilities for various logistical supports during ports calls, joint military exercises, military training, disaster relief operations, humanitarian operations etc. The agreement will enable India and the United States to access military supplies, fuel, spare parts as well as services from each other’s facilities as and when its is required and for which reimbursement would be made.

    A joint statement issued by the Pentagon noted, Defence relationship between India and the United States is based on the two countries’ shared values and interests, and their abiding commitment to global peace and security. Welcoming the signing of LEMOA, the statement pointed out that this agreement “will facilitate additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange.” Signing of LEMOA can be regarded as a significant move forward in India-US defence cooperation. It also indicates at the ongoing positive momentum in bourgeoning Indo-US strategic partnership. India and the United States have been making efforts to strengthen mutual defence relationship across wide areas covering enhanced strategic and regional cooperation, to deepen military to military exchanges and greater collaboration on defence trade, technology and innovation.

    It should be clarified that this agreement does not give any basing rights to any of the two parties. Also, the logistical support will be decided on a case to case basis as and when required. Commenting on this agreement, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook noted, “it will make the conduct of US operations with the Indian military much more efficient and effective. LEMOA is consistent with agreements the US has with other countries.” The United States has already signed this agreement with around 100 countries which includes its strategic allies as well as partners.

    In light of Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India campaign, New Delhi has been emphasising upon co-development and co-production of defence equipments in India. To achieve this goal, Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) was launched. LEMOA would help in expediting high end technology transfer processes from United States to India. Besides LEMOA is an amended version of traditional Logistics Support Agreement (LSA). The other two agreements are Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) which is likely to be negotiated by both sides after the successful implementation of LEMOA.

    The significance of this agreement is of symbolic value as well for enhancing Indo-US strategic partnership. It indicates there is greater trust and synergy which is being developed by both the nations. India-US strategic partnership has been transformed in last one and half decades and the LEMOA is a movement forward in building greater trust and understanding and in taking the relationship to a higher trajectory.

    Coincidentally, the day after signing of this agreement, the second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue was held in New Delhi as part of an annual review of the entire gamut of India-US strategic ties. Signing of LEMOA gave momentum to the delegations from both the sides for more robust and successful dialogue as well as its outcomes with regard to all aspects of India-US ties.

    It would be essential to emphasize that India and the United States are strategic partners. India exercises strategic autonomy in making its foreign and security policy choices and the signing of LEMOA does not make any change in this position of India’s foreign policy approach and its implementation.

    The article was originally published in AIR World Service.