Military logistics pact with US not on agenda: Antony

October 25th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 25 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Saturday said a logistics support agreement (LSA) with the US, under which their militaries can refuel ships and aircraft in cashless transactions that are balanced at the end of the year, “was not on the agenda”.”No time limit has been set. The LSA is not on the agenda,” he told reporters after reviewing the aircraft building activities of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd here.

“We are continuing the dialogue (with the US on LSA). We are not signing any agreement (as yet),” Antony added.

According to a defence ministry official, the LSA “would require both countries to provide their bases, fuel and other kind of logistics support to each others’ fighter jets and naval warships”.

Explaining the advantages of the agreement, the official said: “India spent close to Rs.100 crore (Rs.1 billion) for participating in the Red Flag exercise with the US Air Force (in August).

“Had an LSA been in place, India would not have had to physically pay the money but would have provided reciprocal facilities in this country whenever the US defence forces required them,” the official added.

The US has agreements similar to the LSA in place with some 65 countries.

In most cases, it is called the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that was formerly known as the NATO Mutual Support Act. It was enacted to simplify exchanges of logistic support, supplies, and services between the US and NATO forces. It was amended in 1986, 1992 and 1994 to permit ACSAs with non-NATO countries.

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