Policy

India in no hurry to enter into defence foundational pacts with US

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

The Ministry of Defence will not expedite the remaining two foundational pacts with the US even as both the sides have finalised the agreement on logistics support — the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

“There is no point in hurrying these pacts now. We are still examining it and discussing the impact of the other two. It will take some time before we finalise the remaining two,” a top official, involved in the matter, told BusinessLine.

Apparently, the Defence Ministry itself is having a divided opinion on the matter. While some quarters of the Ministry are in favour of India expanding its defence ties with US, some have opposed both the military establishments coming closer, the official said.

“The foundational agreements are being considered in phases. Opponents of Indian defence cooperation with the US have spread so much false information about these agreements that they have become hot political buttons in India,” said a US defence industry representative.

US keen on ties

According to the US, in order to deepen India-US defence ties, it is imperative to sign all the three foundational pacts — Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) — as each one defines the depth of expansion.

While India has already finalised the LEMOA, the remaining two have got stuck over fears of compromising New Delhi’s sovereignty.

The LEMOA stipulates sharing of each other’s military supplies, platforms and fuel during peace time. The pact was finalised during Prime Minister’s visit to US earlier this month. It will be signed once the legal scrubbings are over.

While CISMOA relates to securing cutting edge technology in communication equipments, BECA refers to information and data exchange on mapping.

However, the US Senate recently rejected a Bill that would have officially recognised India as a ‘major defence and strategic partner’ even though it was mentioned in the joint statements. This is because India has shied away from signing all the foundational pacts with US, sources said.

Co-production demand

The US is also miffed with the fact that its demand for co-production and co-development of defence system by private firms have not taken off as desired under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative.

US military exports to India stand at $14 billion in 2016, up from $200 million in 2000.

Published on June 21, 2016

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