If news of New Delhi being held for ransom by monsoon rains, followed by the sex scandal of AAP leader Sandeep Kumar hasn’t clogged off our cerebral space completely then one should also pay attention to the fact that India has signed a pact with US which allows the US forces to use Indian Air and Naval basis for logistic support in case the US goes to war against its growing rival China.
Oops. Did I interrupt your prolonged honeymoon with monsoon?
Yes. You heard right. India has signed Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with US recently in Washington which to some is nothing less than surrendering India’s sovereignty and sitting in the lap of US at the expense of an all weather friend like Russia.
Though defense minister Manohar Parrikar has clarified multiple times that LEMOA doesn’t allow US to use Indian bases to launch operations against any country, but the defense experts believes that by signing LEMOA, India has conceded what she has been defending with utmost devotion since its independence- its neutrality (or to some its sovereignty) from siding with any of two global blocs led by US and former USSR (and now China).
”For the US, this is one part of the much larger pivot to Asia intended by President Obama to meet a rising China. The US Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities,” noted Charles Tiefer, a military writer for Forbes.
What does it exactly mean?
With the US already having agreements of using military bases of the countries like Japan, Vietnam and Philippines in case of crisis in South China Sea, agreement with India means that US navy will get access to Indian Ocean and Indian waters to encircle China in case of war for refueling and logistic purpose. It has already asked its ally in extreme east Australia to be more aggressive against Chinese expansion towards the Eastern Waters.
“Under this agreement the US Airforce and navy can use Indian naval and air bases for logistics support, refuelling and services on a regular basis. The US armed forces can utilise Indian military bases while conducting military operations in third countries,” says the statement of the agreement.
This is how US could use Indian Air Bases
Western India has more than handful of Air bases with a distance of 300 Kms which can provide excellent logistic support such as refueling in case the US gets engaged in war with Iran or even Pakistan who is a likely ally to China.
Airfields at Adampur, Ambala, Chandigarh, Halwara, Hindan, Jaiselmer, Jamnagar, Jodhpur and Pathankot are located within 300 km of the Pakistan border and after the signing of the pact can be used to the US for refueling and other logistic support.
It will also help US to keep its aerial and naval hegemony on Arabian Sea, Indo-Pacific Ocean, and Gulf and Middle East including the Suaze Canal and Gulf of Aden from where maximum maritime trade between countries takes place.
It will provide a strategic control to US over the global maritime trade. Another Scenario is that if China isn’t a threat to Indian Navy to Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, the presence of US Navy near Indian Waters is nothing lesser than undermining the hegemony of Indian Navy which till now has been the defacto master of Ocean right from Indo-Pacific Ocean upto the Australian waters.
In North-Eastern theatre of war against China, as per agreement, US will be allowed to use Indian Air bases like Jorhat, Leh, Dehradun, Tezpur, Srinagar, Shillong, and many others in Bay of Bengal where US fighter jets would have access to refueling along other necessary support. It’s nothing less than bartering our resources for somebody else’s war.
How handy our Naval bases will get for US?
According to various defense experts globally, US Navy is likely to place 60 percent of its massive fleet of surface warships in Indo-Pacific Ocean to near future. In that scenario, the current pact signed between India-US would allow the US to use Indian Naval bases on all three sides including Arabian Sea, Andaman & Nicobar and Bay of Bengal for refueling and other logistic support in a possible case of war against China.
Indian Navy at present had tactical, technological and strategic edge over all other naval forces present in the region along with Chinese, Australian and even US to some extent.
But now once the document is signed, US Navy can launch offensive against China from both pacific with help of its ally Australia as well as Indian Ocean with the help of the recent pact.
But allowing US Navy to intervene this much into Indian Ocean is nothing short of undermining or even surrendering the edge Indian Navy enjoys over others in the region at present.
If India had not signed any pact of this sort with US, it would have been difficult for the US to encircle China from all sides-Pacific, South China Sea and Indian Ocean because none of other US allies, neither the Gulf Countries in West nor Australia in East have the adequate infrastructure to support the huge requirements of refueling and other logistic support so close to Chinese waters.