India and the US have signed a military Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), giving each other the use of military bases in a tightening of relations that experts say is aimed at countering the growing assertiveness of Asia. The biggest benefit of signing the LEMOA is that it will strengthen India’s reach and beef up its capacity for far-sea operations — gaining access to US military bases in the Indian Ocean such as Djibouti and Diego Garcia.
Washington, which had been pressing for the LEMOA, also agreed to lift defence and trade technology sharing with India to the same level it has with its closest allies, according to a joint statement issued at the end of discussions between defence minister Manohar Parrikar and US secretary of defence Ashton Carter — their sixth interaction to date.
According to a press statement issued by the MoD on Tuesday, “LEMOA is a facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions and procedures for reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the armed forces of India and the United States.”
Logistics support, supplies and services include food, water, billeting, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, medical services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services, calibration services, and port services.
Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorised port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.