Having been cautioned by the Left for its growing military closeness with the United States, the government on Wednesday felt the need to clarify that an agreement it plans with Washington on logistics support will not affect the independence of Indian foreign policy.
Instead, the agreement “for logistical support that will be provided in disaster relief operations abroad will enhance India’s ability to assist affected countries efficiently,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
After its experience with the India-US civil nuclear cooperation deal, a cautious government told Parliament that a logistics support agreement (LSA) it planned with the US armed forces would “not affect the independence of India’s foreign policy.”
On a day when India formally initiated talks in Vienna with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to try and ratify the nuclear deal, Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha in a written response to a question that the government was “in the process of considering a LSA with the America as a facilitating framework for mutual logistical support when deploying defence resources in disaster relief operations or joint exercises.”
There was no “commitment”, Mukherjee clarified, “for assistance in situations of armed conflict.” The Left allies of the government are unlikely to take kindly to the government’s proposal.