Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced on Tuesday that the logistics support agreement was on the cards in the coming weeks but underlined that it does not mean permission for deployment of US troops on Indian soil.
Overturning years of resistance, the Narendra Modi government has agreed to sign logistics support agreement that would enable automatic clearances for US warships and military aircrafts to get fuel, food or other assistance while transiting through India.
With his US counterpart Ashton Carter standing by his side, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced on Tuesday that the logistics support agreement was on the cards in the coming weeks but underlined that it does not mean permission for deployment of US troops on Indian soil.
The logistics support agreement has been under negotiations for more than 10 years but the previous UPA regime had resisted intense pressure from Washington to initiate what had been termed as an 'enabling pact for deeper defence ties'.
New Delhi had felt that the content of the pact were intrusive and an impinged Parrikar cautioned that no comment on the agreement should be made until the final draft is ready. Carter, who described Indo-US defence ties as defining partnership of the 21st century, explained that the logistic support pact will simplify interactions between the armed forces of the two countries.India is looking to acquire cutting-edge technology from the US and the two sides discussed ongoing initiatives like cooperation in developing a new flat deck aircraft carrier and jet engine technology.
New Delhi and Washington agreed to initiate two new pathfinder projects under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative. These new projects are: Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Detection System.
They also finalised four government-to-government science projects on Atmospheric Sciences for High Energy Lasers, Cognitive Tools for Target Detection, Small Intelligent Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Blast and Blunt Traumatic Brain Injury.
New Delhi also conveyed its concern over the sale of F-16 fighter jets by the US to Pakistan. Carter maintained that the sale to Pakistan was linked to fight terrorism and Washington's relationship with India was unique.
They also had detailed discussion on the situation in South China Sea. But India stopped short of agreeing to joint patrols with the US. They announced a new maritime security dialogue and commencement of navy-to-navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare.