The Sea of Japan, this week, witnessed a show of military cooperation between US and India, a US Navy tanker refuelled an Indian Navy ship
The Sea of Japan, this week, witnessed a show of military cooperation between US and India, a US Navy tanker refuelled an Indian Navy ship. With the operationalisation of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA) between the two countries, both the countries have got the access to each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs. INS Satpura, an Indian Navy stealth frigate, was refuelled by USNS John Ericsson, a US Navy tanker, as a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) activity carried out under the PASSEX (participation exercise). Besides INS Satpura, INS Kadmatt and a Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force vessel, J S Inazuma, also participated in the exercise, which was conducted from November 3-6 in the Sea of Japan. A source told The Indian Express, “The refuelling from a US Navy tanker extends the reach of the Indian Navy, allowing it to operate further, more persistently and for a longer duration. It is also a statement of intent about the India-US relationship.” It must be noted that this is the first time an Indian ship has been refuelled at sea by a US tanker.
The PASSEX, which was reportedly requested by the Indian Navy, arises when ships from two or more navies are operating in the same area and take the opportunity to train together. During the exercise, the two countries had first utilised the LEMOA to transfer fuel from INS Jyoti, an Indian Navy tanker, to two US Navy ships. As per the report, LEMOA was also used for accounting purposes during the training Exercise Yudh Abhyas in the US. India and the US signed LEMOA last August, however, it only operationalised earlier this year, once the two sides exchanged the annexures listing the point of contacts and the authority chain to be followed.
Meanwhile, India and the US are working closely to sign the Helicopter Operations on Ships Other than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC) agreement, which will allow the two navies to land and take off from ships of both.