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Indian opposition cautions govt against ‘military bloc’ with US

Indian opposition cautions govt against ‘military bloc’ with US

NEW DELHI: India’s Congress party has slammed the Modi government’s military agreement with the US on logistics support, warning that it could trap India into joining foreign conflicts, reports said.

They said Congress leader and former defence minister A. K. Antony described the Logistics Support Agreement agreed between US Defence Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar as disastrous. He said the agreement should be rescinded.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has been more enthusiastic than the Congress traditionally in exploring defence ties with Washington. It was during former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government in 2001 that India had its offered territory a base for US military to launch its assault on Afghanistan. The US found Pakistan handier.

Mr Antony said the new pact signed here this week would lead to the “end of independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy”.

Describing the government’s decision to sign the agreement as the beginning of the end of the independence of India’s foreign policy and strategic autonomy, Mr Antony said: “It is a disastrous decision. Government should retract the decision and should not sign this agreement and other foundation agreements.”

Mr Antony believed that with the new pact, India would gradually become part of the American military bloc.

“When (Congress) was in power, India had all along resisted such proposals. India had traditional relationship with the Soviet Union, now Russia from the very beginning. Of late, we were steadily improving our relations with the US also. We always resisted pressure from everybody to be part of a military bloc,” he said.

The agreement will see India allowing US military, mainly Navy and Air force, to use its facilities for their smooth operations. “They can refuel their ships and aircraft etc. and, if necessary, keep their military equipment on Indian soil”.

Mr Antony said India seldom operates beyond its shores. “This agreement practically gives very little advantage to it, but gives enormous opportunity to US Military.”

This is especially true at a time when the US has announced that in the next three years, 60 per cent of its Marines will be placed in Asia-Pacific region, he said.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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