India’s defence relations with other countries
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Reciprocal military logistics pacts
As in 2020
Looks To Boost Delhi’s Strategic Reach In IOR And Beyond
India is working to enhance its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean and beyond by clinching reciprocal military logistics pacts with friendly countries to counter China’s expanding footprint across the Indo-Pacific.
Japan has now become the sixth country, after US, France, Australia, South Korea and Singapore, with which India has such an agreement to enable military forces to share logistics to support each other’s warships and aircraft as well as bolster overall interoperability and defence cooperation.
“India is negotiating similar pacts with UK and Russia. The Russian one should be inked later this year. We don’t have the intention or the wherewithal to establish overseas bases like China is doing far and wide,” a senior official said.
With an eye on an expansionist and rule-flouting China, the ‘Quad’ grouping of India, US, Australia and Japan is also set to gain more heft now. Just last week, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat strongly backed the Quad as a “good mechanism” to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific. India, incidentally, is also getting set to host a meeting of the Quad later this year.
As for the logistics pacts, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (Lemoa) inked with US in 2016 gives India refuelling facilities and access to American bases in Djibouti, Diego Garcia, Guam and Subic Bay. The one inked with France in 2018 extends the Indian Navy’s reach in southwestern IOR due to French bases in Reunion Islands near Madagascar and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
The mutual logistics support arrangement (MLSA) inked with Australia in June will help Indian warships in southern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific region.
China, which now has the world’s largest Navy with 350 warships and submarines, is looking to set up more logistics bases after its first overseas military facility in Djibouti became operational in 2017.