Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter at a joint news conference at the Pentagon. CNN-News18
In between, by surpassing Russia, the Unites States has become India’s biggest arms supplier. Besides, India is now a country with which the United States conducts the largest number of peace-time military exercises bilaterally every year (nearly 70). All these have fitted well into their respective big scheme of things, with United States focusing on “a rebalance to the Asia-Pacific” and India reaching east to extend its reach in the broader Indo-Asia-Pacific region (Act-East policy).
However, in my considered view, the most important part of the joint statement happens to be just two-and-half lines mentioned in its second last paragraph: “They (Carter and Parrikar) also welcomed the signing of the bilateral logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA), which will facilitate additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange.”
To begin with, LEMOA is a term that one has heard for the first time in the vocabulary of the Indo-US defence parlance. During his India-visit in April, Carter was using the term ‘Logistics Support Agreement’ (LSA), which the United States, incidentally, had been pressing India since 2004, along with Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). CISMOA would allow the United States to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems, so as to first secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides, and then extend this capability to Indian and US military assets, including aircraft and ships. BECA would set a framework through which the United States could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India.
According to the Americans, the Indo-US strategic partnership can be really meaningful and enhanced once New Delhi signs LSA, CISMOA and BECA. Signing on the LSA has been the first step in that direction. The then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Manmohan Singh was all for the conclusion of the LSA, but it did not have the courage to go for actual signing, afraid as it was that the opposition and Left-leaning experts will consider it as formalising a military alliance with the US by violating its traditional policy of not allowing foreign military presence (howsoever temporary it may be, on its soil except for purposes of training and joint exercises) and that China will be angered in the process.
RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, sacked its Goa chief Subhash Velingkar on Wednesday. (File)
Panaji: More than 400 volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) resigned from the organisation late Wednesday in protest against the unceremonious sacking of state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar earlier in the day.
The members who announced their resignation included district, sub-district and shakha heads.
The mass resignations followed a marathon six-hour meeting held at a school complex near Panaji, in which over 100 local RSS members and office bearers accused senior RSS and BJP leadership, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, of conspiring to sack Mr Velingkar.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting which was also attended by the office bearers of the Sangh’s Konkan region, Ramdas Saraf, south district pramukh of the RSS said: “All office bearers from the district units, sub district units and shakhas ing with hundreds of others have decided quit from the RSS, until Velingkar Sir is reinstated”.
“We will not work for RSS until the decision to strip him as Goa Vibhag Sangh Chalak is revoked,” Mr Saraf said.
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