The Asian Age 11 June 2016
The proposed Indo-US Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (Lemoa), on the verge of being inked, will increase India’s operational reach across the globe both in times of war and in peace-time operations, especially during rescue missions and combating piracy at sea.
“While the text of the pact has been finalised, the MoU is expected to be signed very soon after which it will be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval,” defence sources told this newspaper.
Shedding light on the positives that the pact will yield, the sources added: “Among other things, the Lemoa will greatly increase the sphere of India’s operational envelope.”
With 662 stations across 38 countries straddling the globe, the US is the largest operator of overseas military bases. Lemoa will enable India to gain much easy access to these bases.
“Besides simplifying the accounting process, Lemoa — operating under the principle of ‘ask and take’ —will allow for mutual logistics support facilities including fuel issues, spares, repairs etc,” sources said, adding that in the sphere of joint-training exercises, the procedures for settling accounts will become easier,” the sources added.
A key feature of the Lemoa is the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), which is vital from the Indian point of view with a spread out Diaspora, especially in West Asia where tensions have been mounting over the rise of the ISIS.
In April 2015, braving great odds, India pulled off out one of the biggest evacuation operations, when it brought back home to safety about 4,640 overseas Indians from war-torn Yemen besides about a 1,000 foreign nationals of 41 nationalities.
“If LEMOA had been in place, more operational smoothness and efficiency would have been guaranteed. Indian naval ships and aircraft would have greater access to US bases like the one in Djibouti located in the Horn of Africa. This is what India will seek to achieve with the signing of the agreement,” the sources said.
‘Moreover, it is vitally important to have such facilities along the sea route through which most of Indian trade with the Pacific take place.”
The US already has the LEMOA pact (also known as Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) with its key allies.