WASHINGTON -- India and the US on Monday signed an important agreement that will make the two nations logistical allies and enable both the militaries to use each other's assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
Welcoming the signing of the bilateral 'Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement' (LEMOA), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said the pact will facilitate opportunities for "practical engagement and exchange".
LEMOA facilitates the provision of logistical support, supplies, and services between the US and Indian militaries on a reimbursable basis, and provides a framework to govern them.
"They agreed on the importance (that) this framework will provide to facilitate innovative and advanced opportunities in defence technology and trade cooperation. To this end, the US has agreed to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners," said a joint statement after the pact was signed.
According to the statement, the defence ties between the two countries is based on their "shared values and interests," and their "abiding commitment to global peace and security."
During their meeting, Parrikar and Carter discussed the "wealth of progress" in bilateral cooperation and deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India.
The US has agreed to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners.
The visit, their sixth official interaction to date, demonstrates the importance both sides place on strengthening defence ties across many areas: from strategic and regional cooperation to deepened military-to-military exchanges, to expanded collaboration on defence technology and innovation, it said.
Welcoming India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Carter reaffirmed US support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Acknowledging India's positive contributions to regional security and stability, including in matters beyond the maritime space, Carter and Parrikar announced their agreement to further consultations in the area, including through the next Maritime Security Dialogue, scheduled later this year.
During his stay in the US, Parrikar will visit Boeing's manufacturing facility at Philadelphia. He would also interact with American defence industry representatives at an event organised by the US-India Business Council (USIBC).
Earlier yesterday, Parrikar was accorded an enhanced honour cordon by Carter after he arrived at the Pentagon.
The enhanced honour is reserved for valued guests. During normal cordon, visitors are greeted at the Pentagon stairs and welcomed with handshakes, before proceeding inside. During the enhanced honour cordon, national anthems are played.
Parrikar, accompanied by Carter, also laid a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.
Also on HuffPost India.