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After the United States, France, South Korea, Singapore and Australia, India now seek to sign a military logistics pact with Japan | India News

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NEW DELHI: India is rapidly signing reciprocal military logistics pacts with like-minded countries to extend its strategic and naval operational reach throughout the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond, with a firm eye on China’s expansionary behavior in the Indo-Pacific.

After similar agreements with the EE. The US, France, South Korea and Singapore, it was India’s turn to sign the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) with Australia during the virtual summit between the two PMs on Thursday.

Thats not all. India is ready to sign a military logistics pact with Japan next, while similar deals are also being negotiated with Russia and the United Kingdom, the sources said. “The MLSA will allow our warships to obtain refueling from Australian oil tankers on the high seas, while also having docking, maintenance and storage facilities at Australian naval bases. Of course, it will be on a reciprocal basis, ”said a source.

The Logistics Exchange Agreement Memorandum (LEMOA) signed with the USA. USA In 2016, it also provides India with refueling facilities and access to US bases in Djibouti, Diego García, Guam and Subic Bay.

The one who signed with France in 2018, in turn, also extends the reach of the Indian Navy in southwestern IOR due to French bases in the Reunion Islands near Madagascar and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

“The MLSA with Australia will help us extend the reach of our warships in the southern IOR and in the western Pacific region. The region south of the Strait of Indonesia is also important to us, ”said the source.

The pacts are crucial for India in the context of China’s rapid expansion of its strategic footprint in the IOR after its first overseas military base in Djibouti became operational in August 2017.

China, of course, also has access to the Karachi and Gwadar ports in Pakistan for response facilities for its submarines and warships. It is also trying to further consolidate its military presence in the Indo-Pacific in Cambodia, Vanuatu and other countries.

Closer to India, China has between six and eight warships deployed at the IOR at any given time. Furiously modernizing its naval forces, from long-range nuclear ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles to submarines and aircraft carriers, China has commissioned more than 80 warships in the past six years.

Although India has not yet formally invited Australia to join Malabar’s trilateral naval exercise with the United States and Japan, India is steadily increasing its bilateral military commitments to the country.

India and Australia held their largest naval exercise called “AusIndEx” to “build interoperability” off the Visakhapatnam coast in April last year. So, in effect, there is already a military construction for the so-called “Quad” of like-minded democracies for a free, open and rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific, the sources said.

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