India seeks fresh proposals from US for key defence pacts

Thursday, Dec 24, 2015,14:37 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | India has asked the US for fresh proposals that take into account New Delhi’s concerns on three contentious defence foundational agreements, in what is seen as a shift in strategy. Defence sources said that the American side had raised the issue of signing of Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the recent visit of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. While the previous UPA government had refused to sign these, sources said Parrikar has asked the US to address India’s concerns over these agreements for holding further talks, particularly on CISMOA and BECA.

The sources said that LSA, which enables cashless supplies to each other’s armed forces on credit, is doable as it can be done on case by case basis. Of course no help will be extended in event of a war with our friendly countries, the sources said.

CISMOA allows interoperability of Indian and US equipment, which can be critical in a multi-nation operation for rescue, disaster relief or any other such matters. Indian defence establishment has concerns about this agreement as well as the BECA, which facilitates the exchange of geospatial information between governments for military as well as civilian use. They added that fresh proposals have been sought from the US on these agreements.

The US has been pushing India over these agreements arguing that by not signing them, India is itself blocking potential for defence and high-technology cooperation. Kenneth Handelman, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Defence Trade Controls) in the State Department, had in February this year said that not signing of these pacts by India are going to be an issue at some point as both the countries work on high-end technology.

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