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LEMOA will Boost India's Logistics Capacity
Sep 03, 2016

India and the United States have recently signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The agreement formalises an ad-hoc arrangement already in practice and furthers India-US military-to-military cooperation. The agreement, put simply, provides access to each other’s military facilities for fuelling and logistic support on a reimbursable basis.

  • LEMOA, sometimes called a Logistics Services Agreement (LSA), was debated by previous governments as well, but it could not be finalised because of Indian domestic political opposition, which were themselves based on several misperceptions about LSA.
  • China’s growing military strength and increasing belligerence has led to a conscious strategic choice by India to get closer to US.
  • This has made India a lot more comfortable with the US, which also worries about China’s behaviour and power.
  • LEMOA permits the US and India to use each other’s facilities and provides for easier access to supplies and services for the military forces of the two countries when they are engaged in specific types of activities.
  • These activities are limited to joint military exercises, training, port calls and humanitarian missions and other military activities that both sides mutually agree to undertake.
  • It does not give the US automatic access to Indian military bases or to logistical support, but simply smoothens existing practices.
  • The advantage over the current situation is precisely this: Though the US does currently use Indian military bases and logistics—for example, during joint military exercises— this is managed on a case-by-case basis, which is simply more cumbersome.
  • LEMOA does not necessarily give anything that the US does not already get, but it makes the process more regularised.
  • LSA has been signed by around 100 countries, many of which are not US allies.
  • Most countries formally allied with the US have not been dragged into these wars, let alone those simply signing the LSA.
  • India does stand to gain a lot more than lose in practical terms. In one of the more concrete benefits, LEMOA strengthens India’s outreach to areas that were not typically within its reach.
  • With one aircraft carrier in operations, India’s capacity to undertake far sea operations has been fairly limited. Signing LEMOA opens up opportunities such as gaining access to US military bases in Djibouti and Diego Garcia.
  • Indian arrangements with the US for such access open up new options in beefing up India’s logistics capacity for missions in the Indian Ocean.
  • Though India can access such facilities and logistics even now, again, this has to be done on a case-by-case basis, which LEMOA does away with.

LEMOA is a sign signifying the state of India-US strategic ties.

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