India-US defence ties reach next big level; logistics exchange pact LEMOA signed: All you want to know about it

By: | Updated: August 30, 2016 3:59 PM

In a big step forward for defence ties, India and US have signed a logistics exchange pact, called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement or LEMOA.

India US defence ties, India US logistics pact, India US LEMOA, Manohar Parrikar US visitLEMOA comes at a time when China is aggressively building up its military operations, especially in the South China Sea. (AP Photo)

In a big step forward for defence ties, India and US have signed a logistics exchange pact, called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement or LEMOA. The agreement was signed during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s ongoing US visit. While many have speculated on whether the agreement would now mean that the US can station its troops in India, both Parrikar and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter have clarified that the LEMOA does not allow for that. Nevertheless, the agreement comes at a time when China is aggressively building up its military operations, especially in the South China Sea. And in that sense is crucial as both US and India seek to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China.

LEMOA is actually a tweaked version of LSA (Logistics Support Agreement). India was wary of signing the LSA, for it was believed that the agreement would be seen as a military alliance with the US. India has always stressed on maintaining its autonomy. Both India and US have in the last few years signalled the desire to draw closer ties with each other, and this agreement is a definite step in that direction.

So what does the agreement entail? Essentially, the agreement makes India and US logistical allies, implying that the militaries of both the nations can now use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. LEMOA will facilitate the provision of logistical support, supplies, and services between the two militaries on a “reimbursable basis”.

This reciprocal support would be used exclusively in port visits, joint exercises, joint training. It would also help the two countries better provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. According to MoD, logistics support for any other cooperative efforts shall only be provided on a case-to-case basis through prior mutual consent of the parties.

WATCH: India And US Sign Key Logistics Exchange Pact LEMOA

This mutual consent would be consistent with the two countries’ respective laws, regulations and policies. The agreement does not create any obligations on either country to carry out any joint activity. The agreement’s big takeaway is the fact that it significantly enhances operational capacity of armed forces, including in response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.

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