Defence logistics pact will be a reality soon

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC on Tuesday PTI

US now recognises India as a ‘major defence partner’

The LEMOA or the defence logistics pact between India and the US inched closer to reality with both sides finalising the pact during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. The pact now requires approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

“The text has now been frozen. But, the whole agreement has to be approved by the respective departments. The final approval has to be given by the CCS. Once approved it can be signed at a junior official levels and not necessarily require the Defence Minister’s presence,” a senior official of the Ministry of Defence told BusinessLine.

The LEMOA entails sharing of each other’s military bases, defence supplies, army vessels and aircraft on an operational basis during peace time and not during conflicts. It will help the Indian defence forces during natural disasters, peacekeeping and rescue operations and terrorist attacks. The pact was agreed in-principle during the visit to US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter to India in April.

“Finalising the pact is a big step in itself. Once all the legal scrubbing is done, we will be able to access high-tech US defence technologies. US will also now be more confident in going for more transfer of technology. Besides, this will remove all the impediments in Indo-US defence trade,” said Sanjeev Srivastava, Researcher (North America Division), Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). The LEMOA, which is an adjusted version of the US’ Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), is one of the three defence foundational pacts that America is pushing India to sign in order to boost defence ties between both countries.

The other two pacts which the Obama administration is aggressively pushing for are – Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

Sources also indicated that now that the LEMOA has been frozen, talks on the other two might also begin. However, it will not be plausible to conclude the negotiations on the remaining two before the Obama administration exits office. According to the joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama on June 7, US now recognises India as “Major Defense Partner.”

“The United States will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. The leaders reached an understanding under which India would receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives,” said the joint statement.

Published on June 08, 2016

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