India and the US signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) on Monday. This bilateral pact will help both countries to access each other’s facilities for repairs and supplies.
In a joint statement, US Defence secretary Ash Carter and Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar said that LEMOA will give additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange. They also said that LEMOA will not allow military bases and the two party will not access the logistical support automatic or obligatory. It will require individual clearance. As per the new agreement the services or supplies will be accessed on a reimbursable basis.
Carter praised the agreement and stated the pact would help the “overall maritime security” and contribute to “freedom of navigation” across the world.
Peter Cook, the Pentagon Press Secretary said that this would help improve regional security between two countries. At a news conference he told reporters, “We think it will make the conduct of our operations with the Indian military that much more efficient and effective. And again, it’s very consistent with agreements we have with other countries.”
When it was asked to him about Pakistan’s reaction on this pact he assured other countries have nothing to worry about the pact. “I would speak to the positive nature about this agreement, which is to enhance the security relationship between our two countries, and security in the region. This agreement and our relationship with India should not be cause for concern for others.”
Commander (US Navy) Gary Ross, Department of Defence spokesperson said to PTI that this agreement facilitates mutual support between Indian Armed Forces and the US. But it needs permission to exchange authorized supplies and services on short notice and it doesn’t require advance payment.
He added, “For example, during a bilateral exercise with the US, the participant country’s unit may require fuel for its equipment. The unit cannot make the purchase unless it can pay directly and immediately. A LEMOA agreement would allow for the purchase of fuel by establishing a price for the purchase and the terms for reimbursement, which could be by cash, replacement-in-kind, or an equal-value exchange.”
He further asserted about the supplies and services that include water, food, transportation, oils, billeting, medical services, petroleum, lubricants, spare parts and components, clothing, training services, repair and maintenance services and other logistical supplies and services.
Ross said that the agreement with India is based on standard agreement. The US has around 100 such agreements with other countries and some with international organizations. Moss stated this agreement applies to all global US bases on land, sea and air.