- The agreement does not mention the setting up of “permanent bases” in either country. According to the signatories, LEMOA only facilitates establishing “mutual basing facilities”. This would be on a case-by-case basis, intended to help speed up humanitarian relief operations as also emergency evacuation from conflict-prone regions. In certain circumstances, it could also help smoothen operational logistics between the navies of the two countries.
A Chinese shadow
- LEMOA is a critical link in the U.S.’s plans for a larger pivot towards Asia.
- With India’s economic profile and growth rates steadily going up, India has become a particularly attractive target for the U.S. — and the West.
- In 2005 that India and the U.S. signed their first Defence Cooperation Agreement. This agreement was renewed and expanded in 2010 and 2015, leading to a loosening of strict controls that existed regarding the transfer of excluded categories of technologies.
- Around 2007-2008, the U.S. made initial moves to get India to sign three foundational agreements viz., the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA); the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA); and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geo-spatial Cooperation.
- While India welcomed the idea of relaxation of technology norms, it resisted signing the foundational
- agreements on the ground that it undermined India’s strategic autonomy.
- As India moves closer to the U.S., Russia is seen to be coming closer to China. At one level, Russia is strengthening its links with China economically and strategically, and coordinating more closely with the latter on the issue of the South China Sea. At another level, Russia is engaging with China to oppose U.S. attempts to install its Missile Defence System in Asia.
- Russia is simultaneously seeking to reinforce its long-standing strategic ties with Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam. Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) appear to have come closer. At the Russia-ASEAN Summit earlier this year, there was even talk of a “strategic partnership for mutual benefit”. In Eurasia, Russia is currently carving out a zone of influence for itself. India does not figure in any of these plans.