The logistics support to an US military aircraft marks a first though India and the US have been providing their naval vessels with refuelling support since the two signed a pact in 2016. The agreement provides India access to US bases from Djibouti in Africa to Guam in the Pacific
NEW DELHI: In a first, a United States' long-range maritime patrol aircraft refuelled at India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands last weekend displaying the military collaboration between the two countries amid New Delhi’s standoff with China along the border in eastern Ladakh.
The “fully armed" P-8 Poseidon aircraft landed in Port Blair for logistics and refuelling support, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The development was first reported by the Times of India on Saturday. It is seen as significant given that Indian and US navies had taken part in a naval “Passex" exercise in the region around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in July.
The logistics support to an US military aircraft marks a first though India and the US have been providing their naval vessels with refuelling support since the two countries signed a logistics support pact in 2016. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) provides India with similar access to US bases from Djibouti in Africa to Guam in the Pacific.
Four Indian naval ships, including a stealth corvette had then teamed up with USS Nimitz carrier strike group and three other ships in the Eastern Indian Ocean near the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The USS Nimitz, which is the US Navy’s largest aircraft carrier, was on its way back from the South China Sea through the Malacca Straits, where it had conducted operations in tandem with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group to support, what Washington called “a free and open Indo- Pacific,“ and “ an international rules-based order wherein each country can reach its potential without sacrificing national sovereignty."
China has been flexing its military muscles in the South China Sea, Taiwan Straits and East China Sea. With India, too, tensions have been high since May when New Delhi detected multiple intrusions into Ladakh by the Chinese military.