India and the US are inching towards sealing an agreement on sharing military logistics after 12 years of negotiations. This is seen as a sign of strengthening ties between the two countries as China continues to become assertive in Asia-Pacific region.
The US has now become India’s top arms supplier, which was earlier dominated by Russia. The US holds more joint exercises with India than with any other country. The US is also in talks with India to help building its largest aircraft carrier, and this would be biggest military pact till date, if the deal materialises. It is expected that this move will strengthen the Indian navy’s strength as China continues expanding its presence in the Indian Ocean.
The decision to conclude the pact comes after years of indecisiveness by previous governments over fears that the logistics agreement would draw India into a binding commitment to support the US in case of war.
The Modi administration has shown intent to move ahead with the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which would allow the militaries of India and US to use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest.
Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command, has said that India and the US were working on the LSA, apart from another agreement called the CISMOA. The CISMOA agreement would help secure communications when the militaries operate together, and exchange of topographical, nautical, and aeronautical data.
“We have not gotten to the point of signing them with India, but I think we’re close,” Mr Harris, who is due to visit India, told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.
There have been some concerns over the proposed communications agreement, with some branches of the military, including the Indian Air Force, which feared that it would allow the US to access their communications network.
As China continues to strengthen its naval presence in the India region, India’s strengthening military ties with US would help in countering Beijing’s dominance in the region.
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