10:55 GMT26 February 2021
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    The White House is playing hardball with the government of India, pushing the Narendra Modi administration to sign three military agreements Washington is keen on but New Delhi has nixed in the past.

    The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) means greater cooperation between the two governments, including that each country provide logistic support, refueling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircraft.

    US and Indian Troops Participate in Joint Exercises in Chaubattia, India
    © Flickr / Arctic Wolves
    US and Indian Troops Participate in Joint Exercises in Chaubattia, India

    Previous Indian governments have been against the agreements, arguing that cooperating with the United States on such an extensive level militarily would undermine India’s strategic autonomy. But a new Indian government means a renewed push from Washington, and they’re turning up the heat this time around.

    After a meeting earlier this week in New Delhi between Obama and Modi officials, the Times of India reported that a US official said that if India did not sign the pacts, it would become “an issue."

    One area that could be adversely affected is India’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. President Obama visited India last month and reiterated Washington’s support for India’s Security Council spot, and White House press secretary Josh Earnest this week repeated that support.

    “As it relates to India's membership in the security council, I know the President endorsed that…the Security Council in the context of a variety of other important reforms to the operations of the United Nations," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday.

    The US says these agreements are necessary so that allies can help each other spread the burden of maintaining a robust military presence worldwide. However, India doesn’t have plans to deploy its military personnel anywhere in North America, while the US is deeply interested in expanding the Pentagon’s capabilities in Asia. Especially in light of souring relations with India’s neighbor, Pakistan, which repeatedly demanded that the US withdraw drone bases from the country and respect  Pakistan’s sovereignty.

    Tags:
    Pakistan, Narendra Modi, Obama, military, defense, India United States
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