NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding criticism from Opposition parties over India signing military logistic support agreement with the US (LEMOA), PM Narendra Modi will go ahead and sign similar agreements with other friendly nations including Russia, France and Germany.
Considered a significant strategic shift, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar during his last month’s visit to Washington signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US that allows their militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
However, the Defence Ministry has made it clear that military bases will only be used for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations and not for carrying out offensive on any country. Sources in the foreign establishment said that after the US, similar type of military agreement can be signed with other countries, depending upon the need.
“Now we have an arrangement of sharing military bases with one country. We can do a similar type of agreement with other countries as well. Some countries have already expressed desire to join hands,” a source said. It is believed that, if not at LEMOA level, small agreement can be done with friendly countries.
The announcement of the pact drew sharp criticism from the Congress which called it a “fundamental departure” from India’s time-tested policy of “strategic military neutrality” while the CPM said the government had “compromised Indian sovereignty” and “surrendered strategic autonomy” by inking the pact.