India will be seen as part of US military bloc: Congress on logistics agreement

Former defence minister A K Antony said India rarely operates beyond its shores, "this agreement practically gives very little advantage to it, but gives enormous opportunity to US Military".

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2016 5:04 pm
Manohar Parrikar, Ashton Carter, US Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar shaking hands with his US counterpart Ashton Carter in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Source: PTI)

Congress on Wednesday demanded that the government retract the “disastrous” decision to sign the Logistics Support Agreement with the US, alleging that it would lead to “end of independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy”.

“NDA government’s decision to sign Logistics Support Agreement with the US is the beginning of the end of the independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy.

“It is a disastrous decision. Government should retract the decision and should not sign this agreement and other foundation agreements,” senior party leader and former defence minister A K Antony said.

READ: India, US agree to share military supplies and fuel

Antony insisted that by signing this agreement, India would gradually become part of the American military bloc.

“When UPA was in power, India had all along resisted such proposals. India had traditional relationship with Soviet
Union, now Russia from the very beginning. Of late, we were steadily improving our relations with the US also. We always resisted pressure from everybody to be part of a military bloc,” he said.

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Noting that by signing this agreement, India will allow U S Military, mainly Navy and Air force, to use its facilities for their smooth operations, he said “They can refuel their ships and aircraft etc and, if necessary, keep their military equipment on Indian soil”.

Antony said India rarely operates beyond its shores. “This agreement practically gives very little advantage to it, but gives enormous opportunity to US Military.”

This is especially true at a time when the US has announced that in the next three years, 60 per cent of its Marines will be placed in Asia-Pacific region, he said.

“It means gradually India will become one of their major facilitators. It is a dangerous game. It will become part of military conflicts. It will affect our strategic autonomy. In eyes of the world, India will become part of the US military bloc,” he added.

Antony’s response came a day after India and the US agreed “in principle” to a logistics exchange agreement to enable both militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, an issue which did not find favour with the previous UPA government.

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