In­dia Agrees to Let US Ac­cess its Mil­i­tary Bases

Ap­proval re­verses a long-stand­ing In­dian po­si­tion against such an agree­ment

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: In­dia has ‘in prin­ci­ple’ agreed on a pact to share mil­i­tary lo­gis­tics with the US, giv­ing eas­ier ac­cess to vis­it­ing air­craft and war­ships to re­sources like fuel and wa­ter, mark­ing a ma­jor gear­ing up on the bi­lat­eral se­cu­rity re­la­tion­ship. The two sides have also agreed to ex­pand tech­nol­ogy shar­ing to jointly de­velop mil­i­tary equip­ment.

Whilethedealon­shar­inglo­gis­tics — In­dian mil­i­tary as­sets would get eas­ier­sup­pliesatUSbas­esand­vice versa — is to be firmed up with de­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar say­ing that a fi­nal draft will be ready over the next few weeks, the ap­proval re­verses a long-stand­ing In­dian po­si­tion against the pact. De­spite be­ing pro­posed over a decade ago to en­able a s mo o t h mech­a­nism to share re­sources, ex-de­fence min­is­ter AK Antony had taken a strong stand against it cit­ing con­cerns of armed forces.

In a joint presser with the vis­it­ing US sec­re­tary for de­fence Ash­ton Carter, Par­rikar sought to down­play con­cerns that the agree­ment would end up in US troops be­ing based in In­dia, say­ing that it per­tains only to shar­ing of re­sources like fuel, wa­ter and food and is needed as bi­lat­eral en­gage­ments are on the rise. “As our en­gage­ment deep­ens, we need to de­velop mech­a­nisms to fa­cil­i­tate such ex­changes. In this con­text, Carter and I agreed i n pri nci­ple to con­clude a Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment in the com­ing months,” he said.

Par­rikar said the finer points of

Ex-de­fence min­is­ter AK Antony had taken a strong stand against it cit­ing con­cerns of armed forces

the agree­ment have been worked out and a fi­nal draft could be ready in a few weeks, pos­si­bly stretch­ing to a month. The US side was more pos­i­tive on the time­line, say­ing it could be fi­nalised in two to three weeks.

This is not the first time that Amer­i­can mil­i­tary has been given ac­cesstoIn­di­an­re­sources.

Post the con­flict with China, US air­craft were used to main­tain and sup­ply troops in Leh and in the north­east. In re­turn, se­cret US spy mis­sions on China were launched from In­dia with then PM Jawa­har­lal Nehru giv­ing per­mis­sion for the over­fly­ing and sta­tion­ing of U-2 air­craft at the Char­ba­tia air­base in Odisha.

DE­CEM­BER 21, 2015 What is LSA?

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