Context: After concluding a logistics support agreement with Japan in September 2020, India is now working on three such agreements with Russia, the U.K. and Vietnam.
- India now has military logistics agreements with all Quad countries, Australia, Japan and the U.S., significantly improving interoperability as they also operate several common military platforms.
- India has been signing MLSAs with countries primarily eyeing deeper maritime cooperation which is important considering China’s rapid military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
- India has already signed such agreements with a few countries beginning with the U.S.
- India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. in August 2016 after decade-long negotiations.
- After India signed the foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the U.S., it got access to encrypted communication systems for seamless communication.
- As part of this, in March 2019 the Navy and U.S. Navy signed a loan agreement and installed two Pacific fleet provided CENTRIXS (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System) kits at the Indian Navy headquarters.
- Since then, it has concluded several such agreements with Australia, France, Oman, the Philippines and Singapore and gained access to the Sabang port in Indonesia.
- In June 2020, India and Australia signed the long pending Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA), elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership, and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
- The logistics pact with Japan, Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between armed forces, was signed in September. India and Japan have already signed an implementing arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF).
- Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement, simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military away from India.
- The biggest beneficiary of the logistics pacts has been the Navy which interacts and exercises the most with foreign navies.
- When operating on the high seas, exercises or during humanitarian assistance missions fuel, food and other needs can be exchanged and settled through the established modalities later.