The U.S. and India have signed a key logistics agreement that will enable U.S. and Indian forces to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters Monday at the Pentagon that he and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar formally signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) earlier in the day. The two defense leaders had agreed on the memorandum “in principle” when they last met in India in April.
Carter said the agreement is “fully mutual” and makes joint operations easier and more efficient. Both defense leaders stressed the agreement did not allow each nation to set up bases on the other, but to use bases and equipment only for “operating together when we choose to.”
“It doesn't have anything to do with the setting up of bases,” Parrikar added. “It's basically logistics support.”
During Parrikar's visit to the Pentagon, the two defense leaders discussed India's recent designation as a major U.S. defense partner. The designation recently was announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June visit to Washington, and Carter said it allows the United States military to cooperate with India's military “in a way that we do only with our closest and most long-standing allies.”
Monday's talks at the Pentagon, the sixth meeting between the two defense chiefs, comes ahead of key annual exercises in India between U.S. and Indian forces.