OPEN APP
Home >News >World >India, US agree ‘in principle’ to sign logistics support pact

New Delhi: India and the United States on Tuesday agreed to ramp up defence ties, agreeing “in principle" to sign a key agreement that will give the two nations access to logistics support from each other besides refuelling and berthing facilities.

The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) will be concluded “in the coming months," defence minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters in New Delhi at a joint press conference with visiting US defence secretary Ashton Carter.

The US has been keen that India signs the LSA as well as the two other pacts that allows the two militaries to work in closer coordination with each other.

“We have agreed in principle that all the issues are resolved," Carter said. India was previously wary that the logistics pact would make it seem align closer to the US and undermine its traditional autonomy but Indian officials said India’s concerns had been discussed with the US.

The two sides also announced the launch of two dialogues—one between the two navies on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare and the other a maritime security dialogue between officials of the defence and foreign ministries of the two countries.

Carter added that the two countries would “soon" conclude a commercial shipping information exchange agreement.

The forging of closer India-US defence ties comes amid attempts by both countries to counter a rising China.

According to a US department of defense (DoD) statement ahead of Carter’s arrival in India on Sunday, one of the aims of the US defence secretary’s visit to India and then the Philippines—is to advance the solidification of the US’ rebalancing towards the region.

The US’ rebalancing towards Asia, announced in 2011, means assigning higher priority and more political, economic and security resources to the Asia-Pacific region because of its dynamism and the increased assertiveness of China, watched warily by many countries in the region.

It includes forging stronger relationships with allies like Australia and partners like India and Indonesia, a more extensive and structured relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), drawing these countries into the US’ economic sphere of influence, as well as maintaining a stable relationship with China.

“Secretary Carter and defence minister Parrikar reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, including in the South China Sea. They vowed their support for a rules-based order and regional security architecture conducive to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and emphasized their commitment to working together and with other nations to ensure the security and stability that have been beneficial to the Asia-Pacific for decades," a joint statement issued at the end of Carter’s visit said.

The India-US statement came on a day when China expressed anger at the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies opposing “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions" in the East and South China Seas.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea and is building islands on reefs to bolster its claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which an estimated $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.

According to Parrikar, a “stronger India-US partnership will promote peace, stability and progress in our region and the world."

On the bilateral front, Parrikar said the two countries had agreed to take forward discussions under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) between the two countries “more aggressively" in areas like jet engine technology. “We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation...on aircraft carriers."

In his remarks, Carter said India and the US had agreed to two new projects under the DTTI. These were the Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System, the joint statement said.

“Both sides agreed to encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the pursuit of a range of cutting-edge projects. In support of Make in India, the United States shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration of the government of India," it added.

India has been keen establishing a fighter production line under the Make in India programme. India has been in favour of the F/A-18 Super Hornets manufactured by Boeing rather than the F-16s manufactured by Lockheed Martin. This comes against the backdrop of the Indian Air Force looking for replacements for its ageing fleet. India requires 45 fighter squadrons to counter a “two-front threat," but the air force has only about 30 active fighter units.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Close
×
Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout