India not to allow U.S. inspectors at bases

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: With India formally conveying to the United States that it is fine with the End-Use Monitoring Agreement, under negotiations for nearly two years, American inspectors would be able to physically verify that the sensitive equipment was being put to the use it was procured for and there was no diversion.

Highly placed sources in the government, however, told The Hindu on Tuesday that New Delhi reserved the right to select the venue of inspection of such equipment, thereby disallowing U.S officials to visit defence bases, it did not want them to enter.

Under the mechanism agreed upon the equipment could be unhinged and brought out of the base(s) for verification at a place of India’s choice. The agreement envisaged physical verification of the equipment and the log records that show the use it had been put to, the sources said.

Self-protection equipment to ward off missile attacks forms part of the VVIP Boeing Business Jets procured. In this case, the equipment can be taken off the plane and shown elsewhere instead of allowing the American officials to the air base where the VIP squadron is located.

The sources said there were no “immovables” in the U.S. military supplies.

Opposition parties had expressed apprehension over how the agreement would work and wanted to know if it meant allowing American inspectors at defence bases.

An important clause in the agreement allowed India to freeze the text, to prevent unilateral application of any future changes to U.S. laws. Any amendments to the text can be incorporated only through mutual consultation.

Pentagon wants South Block to also sign the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement and Logistics Supplies Agreement; CISMOA for consensual use of communications systems on U.S.-made aircraft and LSA to allow use of facilities and supplies at each other’s bases.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon described the end use agreement as a “big victory” and asserted there was no deviation in the foreign policy.

Taking questions from MPs at the end of his lecture in Parliament Library, Mr. Menon said now there was a provision for a joint decision and the text cannot be amended unilaterally, as was the case earlier. The U.S., he said, had end use agreements with 82 countries.

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