Tuesday, April 12, 2016

India to open its Land, Air and Naval Base to US

India and the United States have agreed in principle to share military logistics, the countries' defence ministers said on Tuesday, as both sides seek to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China. Washington has for years urged New Delhi to sign a Logistics Support Agreement that allows the two militaries to use each other's land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest.

India has had concerns that a logistics agreement would commit it to hosting U.S. troops at its bases, or draw it into a military alliance with the United States and undermine its traditional autonomy.

But after years of delays, the two sides said an agreement was in hand, although not yet ready for signing. "We have agreed in principle that all the issues are resolved," U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters in New Delhi after talks with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar.

The two sides would finalise the text of an agreement in coming weeks, Carter said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, faced with an assertive China expanding its influence in the South China Sea and into the Indian Ocean, has signalled its desire to draw closer to the United States. China is also a close ally of India's arch rival, Pakistan.

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