India to propose new end-user pact to US

February 10th, 2009 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 10 (IANS) India is close to inking a pact governing the end-use of US military hardware it purchases with New Delhi set to soon propose a new draft, a US official said here Tuesday.

More importantly, the pact will govern all future purchases instead of dealing with them on a case-to-case basis as is currently the norm, the official added.

“India is going to propose new draft for the end user agreement. My feeling is that we are very close,” deputy chief of the US mission in New Delhi Steven J. White told reporters here. White is in Bangalore for the seventh edition of the Aero India international air show Feb 11-15.

“India also wants a blanket understanding on the issue instead of matters being decided on a case-to-case basis as it causes a lot of delay,” White added.

Two cases in point are the purchases of three Boeing Business Jets for transporting the president, the prime minister and other dignitaries and the troop carrier INS Jalashwa (formerly the USS Trenton), for which end-use agreements have yet to be signed. This is because India is wary of their annual physical inspections as mandated by the pact.

White confirmed that Defence Minister A.K. Antony had raised the issue during his visit to the US last year .

“I was there at the meeting of (Robert) Gates (who continues as US defence secretary) and Antony. The US was delighted at the stand Antony took at the meeting,” White said, without divulging details.

White also asserted that the absence of an end-user agreement will not affect sales of military equipment and hardware to India, pointing out that “no significant issue had arisen” though the pact was not in place when INS Jalashwa was purchased.

Apart from the end-user agreement, some other pacts too are pending with the US. These are the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) on cashless transfers of fuel and supplies between the two militaries that are balanced at the end of the year, and the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) that will enable the two militaries to communicate on a common platform.

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