The Indian government has not released the details of the Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) to the public domain even after spending almost ten days signing the pact with the United States. Observers see this as a rather unusual move by the Narendra Modi led government, which is known to boast about its foreign relations achievements.
It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements,” reads the statement issued by India’s Ministry of Defense. This is being seen as more of a clarification than a proud announcement.
The Indian government’s strategy of remaining tight lipped over the pact has boomeranged in a big way, arming its critics at home and abroad.
Bharat Karnad, a former security analyst and member of India's National Security Council, told Sputnik, “Obviously, LEMOA has clauses/provisions in it that could be politically explosive. Hence, the non-release of the text.”
Karnad says that the LEMOA text may resemble the text of the November 2007 LSA the US signed with the Philippines. According to this text, what is involved is an “Equal Value Exchange” of “logistic supplies, support, and services”, including airlift using Indian C-17s and C-130s, and “construction and use of temporary structures pertaining to operations support”.
Why waste time? Read the US-Philippines LSA/LEMOA text yourself. But read it closely. https://t.co/xiYBs61UUF— Saurav Jha (@SJha1618) August 31, 2016
Former Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Roy Francis (Retired) expressed his concerns about LEMOA on twitter.
Good to see credible defence journos waxing eloquent about #LEMOA. Prior to 2014, they would've been branded Western agent by Opposition.— royfrancis (@royfrancis1) September 2, 2016
It will be nice to read the US-India LEMOA text if some kind soul can make it available. ACSAs are usually public so this ought to be too.— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) September 1, 2016
After signing LogisticsExchange Memorandum of Agreement(LEMOA) by Parrikar quite unusually, why there is deadly silence& not chest thumping?— soumdaram rajappa (@soumdaram) September 2, 2016
India’s Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar, who signed the agreement during this visit to the US, had believed that details of LEMOA would soon be put out in the public domain. However, he has been seen ducking questions on the agreement.