Centre has taken decision on LEMO Agreement in an 'opaque' manner, alleges Congress

| Updated: Aug 31, 2016 13:24 IST

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Aug. 31 (ANI): Questioning the manner in which the Indian government has signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the United States during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's visit, the Congress Party has alleged that the decision has been taken in an "opaque" manner and added that this would jeopardise the country's national, global and strategic interests. "We express our serious concerns over jeopardising India's national, global and strategic interests by signing of LEMOA. This agreement will cause serious misgivings unless explained and justified among India's traditional partners and time-tested allies regionally and globally," Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI on Wednesday. "The Modi government has neither explained the reasons that prompted this major shift nor made the contents of the agreement public. The Congress party demands that the contents of the agreement be placed in the public domain or at least share with the leadership of all the opposition parties, as this decision has been taken in an opaque manner by the BJP-led Central Government," he said. "They (the Centre) should explain to the people that what the contents of the memorandum are and what they have signed. Unless we know those things, I think there is no meaning in reacting on such issues," he added. The pact signed on Monday would give militaries of both countries access to each other's facilities for supplies and repairs, including food, water, fuel, spare parts, repair, transportation, communication and medical services. In a joint statement, Parrikar and U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter noted that LEMOA will facilitate additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange. However, it does not make logistical support automatic or obligatory for either party and each case will require individual clearance. Further, the services or supplies accessed will be on a reimbursable basis as per the new pact. With India and the U.S. on Monday reaffirming the "urgent necessity" for Pakistan to "dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks" including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company, Kharge said, "We are telling the entire world that Pakistan is encouraging terrorism and they are sponsoring it; and many times they themselves claimed that how to support them to help the Kashmir people, such pleas they are making. So, this is a known fact. "But why in these circumstances has this LEMO Agreement come? We are concerned about that. They should explain to the people of the country." Speaking at a joint press conference after the Second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), along with her U.S. counterpart John Kerry, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "Secretary Kerry and I also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly." Divulging details of their dialogue, Swaraj said, "Secretary Kerry and I discussed at length the issue of terrorism, which is the key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security. I am happy to note that there was a 'meeting of minds' on this issue." Stating that she briefed Secretary Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan, Swaraj said, "We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorisation of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organisations." (ANI)