India-US Logistics Agreement (11 Sep 2016)

India and the U S in Aug 2016 signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). US has a similar agreement with more than 80 nations. LEMOA provides a framework for reciprocal provision of basic logistics such as – water, food, fuel, clothing, communication, medic, storage, training and services pertaining to repair/ maintenance and port services to military forces. These are to be availed during port visits, joint exercises, training, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. The agreement was debated and criticized considerably in India and debated even more in Pakistan.
In this blog we have analyzed the LEMOA agreement.

 

Benefits of LEMOA

  • LEMOA will enhance the operational reach of the Indian Military.
  • It will act as a force multiplier in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
  • The usage and application however will depend upon India and US’ requirements, more often for the latter.

Geopolitical Realities Faced by India

India faces the following geopolitical realities:

  • A hostile Pakistan continuing proxy war in Kashmir and ready to exploit any internal weakness.
  • Chinese- Pakistan military understanding and proposal to create Chinese-Pakistan Economic corridor which would go through parts of India, illegally occupied by China and Pakistan.
  • Unresolved borders with both Pakistan and China despite India’s efforts to resolve the issue through bilateral talks.
  • Rise of China as a rival power to US in the world in general and Asia in particular.
  • Pakistan for US today, remains an ally in the fight against terrorism, but is increasingly appearing to be more of a problem rather than offering a route to solving the problem of terrorism.
  • US and her Asian allies need a counter balance to the emerging threat posed by China in Asia. A militarily strong India meets the requirement.
  • To counter Sino-Pak military threat, military understanding with the US is the only solution for India.

 

Criticisms of Agreement are Laughable

  • Communists.The communist ideology has failed to evolve to keep up with contemporary times. Thus for the Indian communists any strategic ties with US are bad. The communists had criticised the beneficial Indo-US nuclear deal as well, under the UPA government. Thus I request my students to treat criticism by the communists as nonsense.
  • Congress.The deal should have been signed under the UPA long back. It was not done because:
    • It was perceived to be a compromise on the nonaligned stance adopted in Nehru’s foreign policy.
    • Being cautious of hurting China’s sensitivity.
    • ‘Policy paralysis and maintenance of status-quo’- the defining characteristic of Sonia- Manmohan misrule.

Need for Pragmatic Foreign Policy

The spirit of nonalignment adopted by Nehru was to pursue an independent foreign policy and not be a part of any bloc. Since Nehru, in my perception, lacked pragmatism he pursued a rather moralistic foreign policy. The failure of this approach became apparent with our defeat at the hands of China in 1962 and consequent request for US military support. The geopolitical realities pushed India into the Soviet bloc during the Cold War as Pakistan was a key ally in US’ policy of containment of Soviet Communism in Afghanistan from the 1960s till 1990s. India today needs to pursue national interests and benefit from both US and China, without succumbing to pressure from either and to achieve that we need close ties with both to cater for changing realities.

LEMOA Indicates Deepening Indo-US Defence Ties

LEMOA is an indicator of deepening Indo-US defence ties and India needs to do so to meet the existing and emerging geopolitical needs. It is a right step taken by the government. The criticisms are hollow and should be ignored by sensible Indians.

 

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Colonel M.M Nehru

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