India and the US have inked an agreement that sets a framework for the armed forces of the two countries to share their logistics like refuelling, repairing and supplies in times of a war or a disaster.
- The pact makes India and US military logistical allies. The armed forces of the two countries can now use each other's assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies a "reimbursable basis" -- i.e, they can pay later for the use of facilities.
- The pact enables a possible cooperation but doesn't make it obligatory. Any cooperation would be on a case-to-case basis after mutual consent, consistent with laws, regulations and policies of the two countries.
- It does not entail setting up military bases. It is only meant for logistic and humanitarian assistance required for a joint exercise or an operation such as anti-terrorism, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
- The agreement is in no way revolutionary or a game-changer. The two countries already share logistics but the new pact sets guidelines and makes cooperation easier. However, it will significantly increase the operational capacity of the armed forces of the two countries, including in response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.
- It makes India and US logistical allies. However, its timing is significant. It comes as China is getting more assertive in the South China Sea. The US has been seeking Indian cooperation to counter China and seek maritime freedom through the vital trade waterway. China has been asserting exclusive rights on the disputed maritime zone.