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Now, Australia wants a LEMOA

India and Australia have been expanding cooperation in maritime domain. File

India and Australia have been expanding cooperation in maritime domain. File   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Australia has put forward a proposal to have a logistics support agreement with India on the lines of the one concluded with the US. However, yet to take a call on it, India has said that it would first like to get the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. operational.

India and Australia have been expanding their military-to-military cooperation, especially in the maritime domain, given their shared interests and concerns in the Indian Ocean, with the rapid expansion of China’s naval presence in the region.

To facilitate cooperation in this regard, Australia has proposed a logistics agreement and has already submitted a draft to India.“The draft was submitted 18 months back and a response from India is awaited,” a diplomatic source told The Hindu.

However, India has informally conveyed that it would like to first operationalise the LEMOA with the U.S. and would like to take up other such agreements after that, defence sources told The Hindu. “Let us first implement what we have signed, we can then access its merits and consider other agreements based on the necessity,” one official said.

Observer status

The proposal comes in the backdrop of Australia’s recent request for observer status during this year’s Malabar trilateral naval exercises scheduled to be held in July, as reported by The Hindu.

While a formal decision has not yet been taken, officials indicated that it may not be accepted this year.

After a decade of negotiations, India and the U.S. signed LEMOA, the first of the three foundational agreements, last August. However, it is yet be operationalised as India had to streamline its administrative procedures. That process is now almost complete and the Defence Ministry is expected to issue the notification from its end in the next few days.

At the time of signing LEMOA, defence officials said that that they were open to similar agreements with other countries as well, depending on the necessity and the advantage that they would bring to India.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 9:44:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/now-australia-wants-a-lemoa/article18195694.ece

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