Washington D.C. [US], Aug.30 : India and the United States have signed a key logistics agreement that will enable forces of both the countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter told reporters at the Pentagon last night that he and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar formally signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, (LEMOA).
The two 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. Addressing a joint press conference with Carter, Parrikar said that this is not an agreement to set up bases, but to facilitate logistical support between the two militaries.
He said that in the agreement, there is no provision for setting up a base in India. The Defence Minister said that LEMOA facilitates the provision of logistical support, supplies, and services between the US and Indian militaries on a reimbursable basis, and provides a framework to govern them.
"This may include food, water, transportation, petroleum, clothing, medical services, training services, and other logistical items and services," he said.
During Parrikar's visit to the Pentagon, the two leaders discussed India's recent designation as a major US defence partner.
Yesterday's talk at the Pentagon, the sixth meeting between the two leaders, comes ahead of key annual exercises in India between US and the Indian forces.
On his arrival at the Pentagon yesterday, Parrikar was given an enhanced honour cordon. The enhanced honour is reserved for valued guests and visitors during which national anthems are played.
After the ceremonial welcome, Parrikar laid wreath at the 9/11 Memorial, following which the two leaders headed for talks.