US House passes bill on defence co-operation with India
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that proposes to advance defence cooperation with India. USD 621.5 billion defence policy bill as part of the National Defense Authorisation Act.
An amendment in this regard, moved by Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera, was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defense Authorisation Act, NDAA, 2018.
The amendment passed by the House requires the Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India.
As passed by the House, NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges, the role of American partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative.
The previous NDAA-2017 had designated India as a major defence partner which brings India at par with closest American partners in terms of defence trade and technology transfer.
Earlier India and the United States have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will enable both countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of defence supplies.
The logistics agreement signed was based on the memorandum in principle reached between two leaders in April 2016.
What is LEMOA?
LEMOA is another name for Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), an agreement that US has signed with many of its allies.
It allows defence forces countries to avail defence logistics support facilities such as fuel, spare parts, mechanics, etc. during joint training, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and port calls.
Besides, it also lays out the procedure for billing for these facilities as part of a larger accounting transaction and details are contained in clarifying protocols annexed to LEMOA.
LEMOA is facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services (LSSS).
LSSS include food, billeting, water, medical services, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services and port services.
Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint training, joint exercises, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
Provision of LSSS from one Party to the other would be in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services.
Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts will only be provided on a case-by-case basis through prior mutual consent of both countries
• LEMOA does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.
• It will significantly help to enhance the operational capacity of the Indian Armed Forces, including in their response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.