Military logistics pact with US on backburner?


Senior Member
May 6, 2009
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6 Jul 2009, 0253 hrs IST

NEW DELHI: The UPA government has developed cold feet over the contentious

Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) after initially showing some
enthusiasm for it once
it came back to office in May.

This, however, does not mean there will be any slowdown in the already quite expansive military ties between India and US. The flurry of joint combat exercises, high-level exchanges, defence deals and other things will continue as usual.

India is also on course to ink two other military pacts, End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) and Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA), being pushed by US to smoothen New Delhi's acquisition of military hardware and software from Washington.

Bilateral defence and security cooperation, apart from other areas like civil nuclear technology and trade, in fact, will figure high on the agenda when US secretary of state Hillary Clinton comes visiting later this month. The EUMA, incidentally, may well get the final nod during the visit.

"But LSA is firmly on the backburner for now... there are political sensitivities involved. Moreover, given its military operations in our neighbourhood, it's felt US is likely to use our bases and facilities much more than we will ever use theirs," said a top official.

Modelled on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements the US has inked with scores of countries, LSA envisages Indian and American militaries providing logistic support, refuelling and berthing facilities for each other's warships and aircraft on a barter or an equal-value exchange basis.

Though US has been repeatedly asking India to `conclude' LSA for well over two years now, the UPA remains reluctant to do so, even though the Left is no longer breathing down its neck. Earlier, CPI(M) and CPI had contended it would give US unfettered access to Indian military bases.

EUMA, however, is a different matter. The UPA-2 government says it understands that EUMA is required under US domestic laws which basically govern sensitive technology control requirements.

India, however, wants "mutuality" to underscore EUMA instead of "intrusive" clauses in the pact and its "enhanced version" which relate to "onsite physical verification" by US inspectors.

"Since we are increasingly buying US military equipment, an overarching standard EUMA is an essential pre-condition for defence deals. Our position is that the inspections should take place at mutually decided dates and places, and that too only for `very valid' reasons," said the official.

"After exchange of drafts four times, EUMA's final text, with acceptable legal language factoring in concerns of both sides, is being finalised now. It might be ready by Clinton's visit," he added.

Till now, like for the three VVIP Boeing Business Jets and their self-protection suites inducted by IAF to ferry around the President and PM, India has signed standalone end-use pacts with US.

The omnibus EUMA, once inked, will pave the way for high-end sensors, radars and weapon systems to be fitted on the aircraft being purchased under the already-inked $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I maritime reconnaissance planes and the $962 million one for six C-130J `Super Hercules' planes. It will, of course, also govern all future deals.

Military logistics pact with US on backburner? - India - The Times of India
Feb 16, 2009
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pressure from the communists probably put this on the backburner.

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