A top US military Commander on Wednesday said India and the US need to work on two more military agreements in addition to the logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA), which was signed in October last year. Admiral Harry B. Harris who heads the US Pacific Command (PACOM) was delivering the Raisina Dialogue ‘The new normal’ in New Delhi. The Ministry of External Affairs organised the dialogue in collaboration with the think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
“The LEMOA allows us to work together. This is one of the three foundational agreements. I want us to work on the other two,” the Admiral said. “One is called the CISMOA. It deals with communication inter-operatability and second one called the BECA is on geo-spatial mapping. The foundational agreements are important as India has to set the pace and we will be with you," the Admiral said while adding that “Where we have come the past 15 years is an example but we have to overcome some areas we have to be persistent”. He cited defence technology trade initiative (DTTI) saying it allows us to work together. “The US and India can script the new normal as our partnership will be defining moment of 21st century. The US India relationship is not to balance China,” he said.
“We both are uniquely poised in the region to script the new normal,” the PACOM Commander said. He said a hindrance to free flow of navigation in Indian Ocean can disrupt economies. The threat to freedom of navigation is the biggest threat, he said later while answering a question. “Freedom of navigation is not a privilege that can be withdrawn. India accepted a ruling to resolve the maritime dispute with Bangladesh,” he said. “The threat of Islamic State (IS) is big threat we have seen fighters return to their home country can be dangerous. The IS wants to carry out attacks in this country. The way IS is spreading, we need to work together. A nuclear tipped missile in the hands of North Korea is a threat to US and its allies,” the US Commander said.