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India-Russia relations: New military cooperation and logistics agreement

In a significant development, Russia has announced that it is considering a new level of military cooperation with India, involving the joint deployment of troops and an agreement on logistics support. This potential move marks a new dimension in the strategic relationship between the two nations, signalling deeper defence ties and mutual reliance. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has tasked his country’s Defence Ministry with negotiating the details of this proposal with India.

Joint Military Deployment
Russia’s new draft proposal includes the joint deployment of military formations, warships, and fighter jets. This deployment could potentially occur in each other’s territories, enhancing the operational capabilities and readiness of both nations. This concept of joint deployment is unprecedented for India, which has traditionally refrained from such agreements outside of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. Currently, Indian armed forces engage in exercises and defense cooperation with over two dozen countries but have not entered into agreements for joint troop deployments.

Logistics Support Agreement
The logistics support agreement under consideration is akin to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that India signed with the United States in 2016. Such agreements facilitate the use of each other’s naval and military bases for refuelling, repairs, and resupply. India has similar agreements with countries like France, Australia, Singapore, and South Korea. However, despite long standing discussions, an agreement with Russia has not yet materialized. The recent directive from the Russian Prime Minister might expedite this process, addressing the logistical needs of both nations.