Washington, DC – The United States on Monday announced successful signing of the Logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) with India as top defense officials of the two major democracies addressed a joint press conference at the Pentagon.
The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) was signed between US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and his visiting Indian counterpart, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Carter said the signing of the agreement was to, “make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient,” while Parrikar highlighted the benefits for the two naval forces, noting, “India and the United States have a shared interest in freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded commerce as part of rule-based order in Indo-Pacific (zone).”
On various needs of joint operational capabilities, Carter said, “What it (LEMOA) does is make possible and make easier operating together when we choose to.” Carter explained, “This is an agreement that makes it all go so much more smoothly and efficiently,” although the two governments would have to agree on a case by case basis on cooperations and joint operations.
Allaying fears that the agreement would allow the US to set up military bases on Indian soil or use Indian bases as proxy launching pads, both the officials stressed that the new agreement does not allow for US bases to be set up on Indian soil nor for troops to be stationed there.
Secretary Carter told journalists at the joint press conference with Minister Parrikar, “We grant one another completely equal access and ease under this agreement. It’s not a basing agreement of any kind, but it does make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient.”
Echoing Carter’s views, Parrikar said, “Secretary Carter made it clear about the base part of it. It doesn’t have anything to do with the setting up of base. It’s basically logistics support to each others fleet, like supply of fuel, supply of many other things which are required for joint operations, humanitarian assistance and many other relief operations.”
Welcoming the continued efforts by both countries’ militaries to deepen bilateral cooperation and expand opportunities for greater collaboration, both Carter and Parrikar commended the recent completion of the naval exercise MALABAR with Japan and India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise in Hawaii, as well as the Red Flag Air Force Exercise in Alaska. “They were encouraged by the increased complexity in the YUDH ABHYAS Army exercise, which is scheduled for September in India,” said a joint statement after the meetings.
“They agreed on the importance this framework will provide to facilitate innovative and advanced opportunities in defense technology and trade cooperation. To this end, the United States has agreed to elevate defense trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners,” the statement added.
Minister Parrikar made his second official visit to the United States Aug. 29-31. In addition to his official meetings at the Pentagon and joint visit to the 9/11 Memorial with Secretary Carter, Parrikar also met with the leadership of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) and visited US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Parrikar visited the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Joint Base Langley-Eustis for a tour of the Air Combat Command (ACC) and the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing. He also interacted with representatives of US defense industry during the visit.