India and US have agreed to sign the Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) during US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to India. The announcement was made on April 12th, 2016 during a joint press conference by India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in New Delhi. The agreement will be signed in the course of next few months Mr Parrikar informed. The agreement has been under negotiations for over a decade.
There are many voices against this LSA which has been called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement many of it appear ill informed, primarily being will the agreement allow US troops to be stationed in India or will the US have access to Indian military bases to operate from.
The answer is no. The US troops will not be stationed in India or have have access to Indian military bases to operate from. This was clarified by Mr Parrikar during the press conference. That such a question was asked itself is proof of people either not doing their homework or part of the scare mongering exercise stemming from their inherit anti US stance and opposition to closer India military ties with the US.
As the name suggests, the logistics supply agreement is about providing logistics support to each other.
While the details of Indo-US agreement is not available, I would like to use the definitions of a similar agreement between the US and Philippines. India and US will be signing an India specific agreement taking into account Indian concerns.
Below are the definition and scope of the LSA between US & Philippines.
A) Logistic supplies, support, and services which may be provided as approved by the Parties under this Agreement are defined and subject to the following:
- Supplies – Food, water, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, ammunition, spare parts and components, provided during an approved activity.
- Support and Services – Billeting, transportation (including airlift), communication services, medical services, operations support (and construction and use of temporary structures incident to operations support), training services, repair and maintenance services, calibration services, storage services, and port services, during an approved activity. Storage units and ports shall at all times remain under the control and supervision of the host state.
- Logistic supplies, support, and services include the temporary use of general purpose vehicles and other nonlethal items of military equipment which are not designated as significant military equipment on the U.S. Munitions List, during an approved activity.
No United States military base, facility, or permanent structure shall be constructed, established, or allowed under this Agreement.
B) Implementing Arrangement. A written supplementary agreement which contains additional details, terms and conditions related to a specific acquisition and/or transfer of logistic support, supplies, and services.
C) Order. A written request, in an agreed format and signed by a Point of Contact (POC), for the provision of specific logistic support, supplies, and services pursuant to this Agreement and any applicable Implementing Arrangement.
D) Invoice, A document from the Supplying Party which requests reimbursement or payment for specific logistic support, supplies, and services rendered pursuant to this Agreement and any applicable Implementing Arrangements.
E) Transfer. Selling (whether for payment in currency, replacement-in-kind, or exchange of supplies or services of equal value), loaning, or otherwise temporarily providing logistic support, supplies, and services under the terms of this Agreement and any applicable Implementing Arrangement.
F) Replacement-in-Kind (RIK). Payment for a transfer conducted under this Agreement in which it is agreed that the Receiving Party will replace logistic support,
supplies, and services that it receives with logistic support, supplies, and services of an identical, or substantially identical, nature under agreed conditions.
G) Equal Value Exchange. A transfer conducted under this Agreement in which it is agreed that the Receiving Party will replace logistic support, supplies, and services that it receives with logistic support, supplies, and services of an equal monetary value.
H) United States Munitions List. U.S. Defense articles and defense services which are designated by the U.S. President under the Arms Export Control Act as subject to export controls. The U.S. Munitions List is published in Part 121 of Title 22 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.
I) Receiving Party. The Party ordering and receiving support.
J) Supplying Party. The Party providing support.
K) Point of Contact (POC). Authorized offices, agencies, and/or individuals for coordinated placement and acceptance of orders, as well as receipt and collection of payments.
The following items are not eligible for transfer under this Agreement and are specifically excluded from its coverage:
a. weapon systems;
b. major end items of equipment (except for the lease or loan of general purpose vehicles and other nonlethal items of military equipment which are not designated as significant military equipment on the U.S. Munitions List); and
c. initial quantities of replacement and spare parts associated with the initial order quantity of major items of organizational equipment covered in tables of allowances and distribution, tables of organization and equipment, and equivalent documents.
Also excluded from transfer by either Party under this Agreement are any items the transfer of which is prohibited by its laws or regulations. The following items are currently excluded from transfer by United States laws and regulations:
a. guided missiles;
b. naval mines and torpedoes;
c. nuclear ammunition and included items such as warheads, warhead sections, projectiles, demolition munitions, and training ammunition;
d. cartridge and air crew escape propulsion system (AEPS) components;
e. chaff and chaff dispensers;
f. guidance kits for bombs or other ammunition;
g. chemical ammunition (other than riot-control agents); or
h. source, byproduct, or special nuclear materials, or any other material, article, data, or thing of value the transfer of which is subject to the Atomic Energy Act of
1954 (Title 42, United States Code, Section 2011, et. seq.).
As seen from the above excerpt from the LSA between US and Philippines, it provides for logistics support on a reciprocal basis and it is reimbursable in various ways as described. It bars making of any bases in each other’s territory and prohibits the transfer of any weapons as listed under US munitions lists. Since India is negotiating a specific deal, any concerns will be addressed including use of Indian logistics services during the event of a war waged by the US and vice versa. So far it looks like India will provide these services during joint exercises, during humanitarian missions, anti piracy missions and peace time deployments.
The agreement benefits India that is looking to project power from western Indian Ocean to the Malaccas and beyond into South China Sea. India participates in various multi-lateral naval exercises and humanitarian missions like disaster relief after earthquake, tsunami, cyclone etc. India and US have a Fuel Exchange Agreement which allows of refueling each other’s warships at sea using tankers. This was renewed last month.
Th LSA is one for the three foundation agreements that India & US have been negotiating for over a decade to increase interoperability. The others being Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). The LSA is the least tricky of them considering sensitivities in certain quarters within India’s defence establishment and strategic analysts in having closer military relations with the US that will further enhance Indo-US strategic relations.