India and the United States have just signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) a tweaked version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA). The agreement formalizes an ad-hoc arrangement already in practice and furthers India-US military-to-military cooperation. The agreement, put simply, provides access to each other’s military facilities for fueling and logistic support on a reimbursable basis. On the face of it the agreement looks harmless what could possibly go wrong, after all would just be providing “bed & breakfast” services to visiting American forces and vice versa if our forces visited United states or her Island territories.
The only bases which India will gain access to by signing the LEMOA agreement are those located in mainland United States and her island territories. To those who are saying that we will also get access to US bases all around the world and the strategically important ones in Indian ocean region, South-East Asia and East Asia are gravely mistaken.
– India does not gain access to foreign bases which have a large US presence. For example, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
-India does not gain access to overseas US bases in foreign Nations such as Atsugi or Kadena in Japan, or Osan Air base in South Korea.
To gain access to these bases we will have to negotiate with the Host country. On the other hand, United States gains access to Indian bases in mainland India, & the Andaman & Nicobar Islands giving it a wider footprint in the region.
LEMOA strengthens the ‘US Pivot to Asia’ and India becomes a frontline state in the battle to contain China & further expand US influence in Asia.
The cons of such an agreement with the United States are far too many when compared to the pros.
India doesn’t gain anything out of this deal while the United States further cements its position in the region. US is more likely to need India’s port services and logistics support than India needing US’s port services or logistics support. The US is a global power which is present everywhere be it the Atlantic, Asia-Pacific region, Middle east, South China sea etc. US navy is routinely deployed in these areas and conducts a variety of operations, most famous of all the “freedom of navigation” operations, last year alone “freedom of navigation” operations were conducted against 13 counties including India!
Sadly, this is not the end of it LEMOA will pave the way for increasing India’s dependency on an unreliable partner and will increase the strain between India and its traditional ally Russia.
Moscow has been India’s most important and trusted weapons supplier for a long-time Friendship between the two countries has endured the test of time, but with United States getting closer and closer Moscow will find it increasingly hard to treat India as a special partner whom she has provided with cutting edge weapon systems such as Akula-II SSN or the upcoming joint development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. India will be reduced to a cash cow and will lose its special relationship with Russia. It’s not only Russia that will be antagonized, Iran New Delhi’s important ally in the region and where India is investing millions to develop strategically important port will turn its back on India and might even offer the strategically important port, Chabahar, to China. New Delhi’s will no longer enjoy the special relationship with the unofficial leader of Shia world.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that Moscow and Tehran will strengthen their relations with Beijing-Islamabad axis once they start to see New Delhi drifting into Washington’s orbit.
India will have to sign 2 more Foundational agreements with the United States if it wants to get some serious cutting edge American technology, the two agreements are CISMOA and BECA. Key paragraphs of the CISMOA agreement signed between United States and Korea reveal the extent to which Americans will control the equipment they will sell India.
“Paragraph V of the agreement requires ROK to pay the full cost of re-configuring its communication systems to be inter-operable with US military systems, and for testing the Korean systems, whenever required.
Paragraph VII of the agreement states that- DoD-provided COMSEC equipment, keying and other materials, or the details of DoD-provided support services, will not be transferred to or revealed in any manner to a third party without the prior written consent of the USG
Paragraph IX of the agreement stipulates: DoD-provided COMSEC equipment and materials, including keying materials, will be installed and maintained only by authorized US personnel… When authorized by the US, qualified ROK personnel may remove and/or replace US COMSEC equipment previously installed by US personnel.
Paragraph X mandates that DoD-provided COMSEC equipment and materials, including keying materials, will not be subject to any cooperative development, co-production, co-assembly or production licensing agreements.”
Not to forget that United States is yet to transfer any significant technology to India which India not herself possess or is in advance stages of development. The much famed Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) is gathering dust and is yet to result in even a single significant technological transfer. Even if by some miracle India manages to get some cutting edge American weapon system the usage of that system will be 100% regulated by Americans and can be rendered useless any moment like the F-14 fleet of Shah of Iran which was sabotaged by American personnel before leaving Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
If LEMOA is not immediately repelled by the present government, then almost 70 years of hard work of all previous governments to make India an Independent power and not just a lackey of any block will go down the drain.