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Does LEMOA sacrifice national sovereignty? Is it in Indian interest?

Seeing its main objectives, we do not see the sacrifice of national sovereignty. Such provisions are

  1. The agreement does not mention the setting up of “permanent bases” in either country. This is different from US deals with other countries.
  1. According to the signatories, LEMOA only facilitates establishing “mutual basing facilities”. Mutual basing too would be on a case-by-case basis.
  1. It is intended to help speed up
  • Humanitarian relief operations
  • Emergency evacuation from conflict-prone regions.

These will enhance our disaster management efforts.

  1. It also helps to strengthen operational logistics between the navies of the two countries that will help our efforts against piracy.

However, some arguments are given against this new alignment. They are

  1. With LEMOA in place, it is almost certain that pressures would intensify to sign the other two foundational agreements — CISMOA and BECA. If India were to do so it would lead to strong strategic confluence between India and the U.S. It could convey an impression that India had gone from becoming a “major defence partner” to a significant “non-NATO ally”.
  2. US can’t be a reliable partner. Its policy changes according to its interest. In the past it has dumped many allies to get better deal with new partner. Now it is preparing to jettison its long-standing “special relationship” with the U.K. and Saudi Arabia, to get new partner like EU and Iran respectively.
  3. Moreover, U.S. always suspects India’s relations with Russia. Freezing Indo-Russian relation will not be in the interest of Indian security.
  4. Furthermore, given Pakistan’s location, it would be a mistake to believe that the U.S. would completely detach itself from Pakistan.
  5. As also having US on its boat, especially against China, can’t be a safe move; as China can’t be equated with Pakistan.

Conclusion

Since it is not actually a direct military deal, rather a strategic deal to strengthen our security environment- both in terms of disaster management and relief operations, it does not sacrifice our sovereignty. Moreover, what will happen in future can’t be forecasted today. What is in our national, economic and security interest, should be taken care of. We should not be bothered about what other thinks, rather we should think in terms of peace for entire world.

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