The United States and India have announced plans to share military logistics, the two countries said Tuesday. The announcement comes amid U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter's visit to India.
Washington has been persuading New Delhi to sign a Logistics Support Agreement that would let the two states use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest. Although agreed, the accord is not yet ready to be signed.
“The growing interaction between our [U.S. and India] armed forces is another significant aspect of our bilateral partnership. … As our engagement deepens, we need to develop practical mechanisms to facilitate such exchanges. In this context, Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months,” Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said, according to an official statement.
Carter reportedly said that Washington and New Delhi will finalize an agreement in the coming weeks. He also said that the two countries would soon complete a commercial shipping information exchange agreement, Reuters reported.
India reportedly delayed the agreement over concerns that the deal could turn into a military alliance with the U.S., undermining its traditional autonomy. But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has indicated interest in a flourishing relationship with the U.S. amid China’s assertiveness in the Indian Ocean. China is also an ally of India’s main rival, Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Carter said India and the U.S. made progress in collaboration for aircraft carrier design and technology, likely the biggest joint project since they launched a Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in 2012.
“We have decided to take forward discussions under DTTI more aggressively on key areas such as jet engine technology. We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation ... on aircraft carriers,” Parrikar said.