What is BRICS member India really up to?
You may have never heard of LEMOA. In Global South terms, LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement) is quite a big thing, signed in late August by Indian Defense Minister Mohan Parrikar and Pentagon supremo Ash Carter.
As Carter spun it four months before the signing, LEMOA rules that US forces “may” be deployed to India under special circumstances. Essentially, Delhi will allow Washington to refuel and keep contingents and equipment in Indian bases – but only in case of war.
In theory, India is not offering the US any permanent military base. Yet considering the Pentagon’s track record that may of course change in a flash.
No wonder Indian nationalists were outraged – insisting there is no strategic gain out of this gambit, especially for a nation that is very proud of being one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The cozying up to the Pentagon happens just a few months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who had been denied a US visa for nearly a decade – addressed a joint meeting of Congress in a blaze of glory, declaring that India and the US are natural allies” and calling for a closer partnership.
Modi went no holds barred, even referring to Gandhi’s influence on Rev. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent civil disobedience strategy – something that could not but earn him a standing ovation in Capitol Hill.
The “closer” partnership does involve military and nuclear issues. As Modi reminded Congress – which needed no reminding – the industrial-military complex sold weapons to India “from almost zero to $10 billion in less than a decade.”
Then there’s the US-India nuclear cooperation deal, which opens a window for US corporations to build and supply Indian nuclear power reactors. And eventually Washington is bent to share “some” – and the operative concept is “some” – military technology with Delhi.
Geopolitically, this all boils down to what happened recently in the Philippine Sea, as the US, Japan and India practiced anti-submarine warfare and air defense maneuvers; practical evidence of the “pivot to Asia”, as in re-tweaking Asia’s naval-security “order” to counteract – who else – China.
“LEMOA rules that US forces “may” be deployed to India under special circumstances. Essentially, Delhi will allow Washington to refuel and keep contingents and equipment in Indian bases – but only in case of war.”
“In theory, India is not offering the US any permanent military base. Yet considering the Pentagon’s track record that may of course change in a flash.”