In Big Breakthrough, New Rules For US Planes, Ships At Indian Bases

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April 12, 2016

After negotiations that have traversed a decade, India has agreed that US warships and aircraft can refuel and restock water, food, and other supplies at Indian bases with a one-time clearance. Currently, permissions have to be sought each time there is a US requirement.

April 12, 2016

After negotiations that have traversed a decade, India has agreed that US warships and aircraft can refuel and restock water, food, and other supplies at Indian bases with a one-time clearance. Currently, permissions have to be sought each time there is a US requirement.

For example, US warships on a humanitarian relief operation will be provided assistance throughout the duration of their operation based on a single request for Indian support.

India too can use similar US facilities when required. A new Logistics and Support Agreement has been discussed, which would allow the two militaries to use each other's land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest.

However, the text of the agreement has not yet been finalized – that's expected in the next few months, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter after talks held today.

Mr. Parrikar explained that there will be no permanent US military presence at Indian bases while Mr. Carter made it a point to stress, "We can come here only if we are invited by the Indian government." Mr. Carter added that the new logistics agreement "reflects the fact that we expect to be working more, our Navies together, our Air Forces together, our Armies together and we want to have the ability to respond together to let's say a humanitarian disaster… this doesn't bind anybody to doing anything in particular."

Mr. Parrikar referred to the case of the devastating Nepal earthquake last year which saw US planes carrying relief and aid refueling in India.

The previous UPA Government had refused to sign an earlier iteration of the agreement, declaring that India would be seen as partnering with the US militarily, which could endanger India's independent foreign policy.

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