Congress opposes logistics support agreement with US

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New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday opposed the government’s move to sign a military logistics support agreement with the US, saying the Narendra Modi government does not have the mandate to push India into any military alliance.

“Though America is India’s strategic partner, we have our strong reservations and concerns against this agreement,” Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told reporters here.

Sharma added that India has strategic relations with America and also with Russia, China, Japan and Indonesia.

He said that India had maintained balance among its various strategic partners but had never been part of a power bloc.

Sharma also said the Modi government has not got the mandate to push India into any military alliance which could prove detrimental to its interest in the long term.

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a joint press conference here announced that the two countries have ‘in principle’ agreed to conclude a logistic support agreement.

The draft of the Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement may take a few weeks to a couple of months to be finalised, Parrikar said.

On Wednesday, Congress leader and former defence minister A.K. Antony criticised the government’s decision to ink the logistics agreement, saying it would affect the independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy.

Antony said the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had resisted the agreement for 10 years, and that it would be disastrous for India.

“This will lead to ending the independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy. The UPA government resisted it for 10 years,” he said.

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“It is a disastrous decision. The government should retract it.”

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