Interview/ Manohar Parrikar, defence minister
How will the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement work? There is an apprehension that US troops would be stationed in India.
First of all, let me say that US troops will not be based here. As per the understanding, in case US warships and planes need food, fuel or some other facility while transiting through our waters, we will provide that. The agreement will be for meeting the standard logistic requirements. We have changed the basic foundational agreement to what we could have agreed to. We will see the agreement getting ready in the next few weeks. This is also going to help in a major way in disaster relief operations. For instance, during the Nepal earthquake, I had to grant special individual permissions for them to come in and help. Moreover, the US will not be allowed to use our facilities to launch offensive operations against any third country.
It is also feared that only the US will benefit from the agreement as our warships and planes do not operate in their areas.
That is not correct. We are also going to benefit in a big way. It is not just about the bases in the US. We will get access to US bases around our territory, such as Djibouti and Diego Garcia, where we also operate our warships. This will help in cutting down effort as our warships are currently supplied fuel and other rations through support ships and other means.
What are the biggest takeaways of your meeting with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter?
I think it was a very fruitful visit. We are discussing cooperation in jet engine technology for the first time. It is a big thing. And though I think more can be done, we are making progress. There is also development regarding aircraft carrier technology. Then, we have the technology for the helmet-mounted display system, which will be very useful for our aircraft. And, the US will also reciprocate in case we need such facilities.