India, US to conclude talks on vital defence agreements
India and the United States will conclude talks on three vital defence pacts during the three-day visit of Defence Secretary Ashton Carter beginning in Goa from Sunday.
The three agreements are the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) on military cooperation, Communication Inter-operability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CIS MO A) on transfer of technology, and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on sharing mapping data and imagery. The three deals are to be formally signed later.
US Defence Secretary Carter arrives in Goa on April 10 and will visit navy base INS Kadamba at Karwar with defence minister Manohar Parrikar the next day.
Carter will take a tour of India’s biggest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. In turn, Parrikar will accompany Carter to the US Pacific Fleet’s command vessel, the USS Blue Ridge, at Mormugao harbour. The 45-year-old vessel is the oldest ship in the US Seventh Fleet and remains its command and control post.
Carter will arrive in Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his senior colleagues only on April 12.
Top sources told Hindustan Times that the primarily naval LSA ag reement will allow Indian and US ships to pick up fuel and supplies from each other’s bases for humanitarian purposes, disaster relief, coordinated exercises, antipiracy patrols as well as for protecting sea lanes. Special permission will, however, have to be sought by both US and India in case their ships are on wartime missions.
India is also expected to okay the CISMOA document as it will help the US transfer high-end technology, particularly on aircraft carriers. India plans to build its third air defence ship (ADS) in collaboration with the US; a bilateral joint working group has already been created.
Discussions on these three agreements are expected to feature in the joint statement after Carter concludes his India visit.
Defence minister Parrikar is expected to travel to Beijing, China, on April 17-18. He will call on Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as his counterpart, Chang Wanquan.
Barring some incursions south of the Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh, Chinese intrusions across the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control have gone down.
China has been proactive in extending its reach in the South China Sea.