India, US agree in principle to logistics exchange agreement
They also expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defence cooperation in practical ways.
The visiting US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also pledged to continue working towards other facilitating agreements to enhance military cooperation and technology transfer. The logistics exchange agreement, to be inked in the coming months, pertains to provision of logistical support, refueling facilities, supplies and services.
Parrikar and Carter underlined the importance of the Logistics Exchange Agreement which would be useful during operations or humanitarian assistance in times of natural disasters by way of providing support.
“Logistics is very important part of the operation. It will be on case by case basis,’’ Carter said adding that all related issues have been resolved.
The two sides also held delegation level meeting here on Tuesday and during their meeting Carter and Parrikar reviewed the important steps taken since the signing of the new framework for the US-India Defense Relationship to deepen bilateral defence ties.
According to the joint statement issued after the delegation level talks, the two ministers discussed the priorities for the coming year in defence ties, as well as specific steps both sides will take to pursue those priorities. These included expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), Make in India efforts of the Indian government, new opportunities to deepen cooperation in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness, military-to-military relations, the knowledge partnership in the field of defence and regional and international security matters of mutual interest.
US Defence Secretary on India visit from April 10-13 was hosted by Parrikar in Goa. They visited the Indian Naval base in Karwar and India’s latest and biggest aircraft carrier –the INS Vikramaditya. They also visited the USS Blue Ridge which was conducting a port call in Goa. Carter will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The joint statement noted that the US and India share a deep and abiding interest in global peace, prosperity, and stability. Pointing out that bilateral defence cooperation was a key component of the strategic partnership between the two countries, the joint statement said that Carter’s visit marked the fourth meeting between him and Parrikar within a year. It also demonstrated the regular Ministerial-level oversight of the robust and deepening India-US defence relationship.
Carter and Parrikar reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, including the South China Sea. They vowed their support for a rules-based order and regional security architecture conducive to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and emphasised their commitment to working together and with other nations to ensure the security and stability that have been beneficial to the Asia-Pacific for decades.
They welcomed the efforts by their Armed Forces to further expand collaboration in the years to come, particularly their military engagements and exercises and developing plans for more advanced maritime exercises.
In support of the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and the maritime security objectives, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of maritime security. In this context, they reaffirmed their desire to expeditiously conclude a “white shipping” technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic. They agreed to commence Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare. They also agreed to launch a bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue.
The two ministers reviewed the progress and reiterated their commitment to pursue co-development and co-production of advanced defence articles under the DTTI. In this context, they agreed to initiate two new DTTI pathfinder projects on Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System.