India and the US have announced the signing of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) between the two countries during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s three-day visit to the US. LEMOA, a tailor-made version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) signed by the US with other countries, “establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services between the armed forces of India and the United States”.
“Our decision to sign the LEMOA today would make it easier for our armed forces to carry out joint activities, such as training and exercises, as well as HADRmissions,” Parrikar told the media in the presence of the US defence secretary, Ashton Carter.
The military logistics agreement between the two countries was first proposed in 2002 but India did not agree to signing of the pact till earlier this year. In April, during Carter’s visit to Delhi, the two sides announced an in-principle agreement to sign the pact. Following further negotiations and due approvals by various ministries, the pact was finally signed on Monday.
WATCH VIDEO: India, US Sign Military Logistics Pact
The BJP government’s decision to sign this pact has been severely criticised by the Congress and the Left parties, fearing that it could lead to establishment of American bases in India. However, in a statement, defence ministry clarified that “the Agreement does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.”
Giving out the contours of the agreement, the ministry also said that “Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts shall only be provided on a case by-case basis through prior mutual consent of the Parties, consistent with their respective laws, regulations and policies.”