Washington, DC – The United States recently signed with India the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), thus adding India to a list of more than a hundred countries with whom it has logistical cooperation agreements. The LEMOA was signed between US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and his visiting Indian counterpart, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Replying to a question, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told journalists on Wednesday, “This is an agreement that is consistent with logistics agreements that we have with literally about 100 other countries,” adding, “There is a sort of formal template that we have done this with many other countries.”
Cook reiterated, “It (LEMOA) 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.”
Asked to comment if the agreement LEMOA shifted India from its “Non-aligned” status to a US military ally, Cook said, “This is an important relationship between the United States and India. It’s something that builds on our existing defense relationship and it’s a basis on which we can conduct operations in an important part of the world, and I think we should look at it in that light.”
Without addressing the question directly, the Pentagon press chief continued, “This is another step forward for the US-India defense relationship and the secretary (US Defense Secretary Ash Carter) is optimistic that there can be additional steps in the future. There are many mutual security concerns that we and India have, and this is an opportunity to try and address some of those concerns. At the same time, address regional concerns that both countries share, and again, could play a role in reducing tensions and addressing some of those concerns on a broader basis.”
Allaying concerns expressed by China, Cook highlighted the “positive nature about this agreement … to enhance the security relationship between our two countries (US & India), and we think enhance the security in the region.”
Noting India as a country that shares American values, Cook continued, “This agreement and our relationship with India should not be cause for concern for others. This is an important relationship, an important country in the world, and one that the secretary (Carter) I think feels very confident that will grow in the future and have even more benefits both for the United States and for India and for the region as a whole.”
“There are many mutual security concerns that we and India have, and this is an opportunity to try and address some of those concerns. At the same time, address regional concerns that both countries share, and again, could play a role in reducing tensions and addressing some of those concerns on a broader basis,” concluded Cook.