Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this big story:
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his counterpart US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sealed the agreement yesterday in efforts to strengthen defence ties to counter concerns over China's growing military assertiveness.
- Mr Carter said the agreement would make joint operations between their militaries logistically easier and more efficient.
- Both he and Defence Minister Parrikar stressed that the new agreement does not allow for US bases to be set up on Indian soil nor for troops to be stationed there.
- Washington has increasingly turned its focus to Asia as it tries to counter China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, and is eager for India to play a greater role in its network of regional defence alliances.
- The agreement will allow the Indian and U.S. navies to have an easier time supporting each other in joint operations and exercises and when providing humanitarian assistance, said Defence Minister Parrikar.
- Washington's desire for deeper security cooperation with India had been complicated without the signing of the logistics agreement as well as two other pacts that would allow for secure communications and the exchange of nautical and other data.
- These agreements that Delhi has just signed are considered routine between the United States and its other defense partners.
- But India has had concerns that such an agreement would commit it to hosting U.S. troops at its bases, or draw it into a military alliance with the United States and undermine its traditional autonomy.
- Mr Carter has made closer military ties with India a priority, and established a special unit within the Pentagon last year to promote cooperation with that country. Mr Parrikar's visit to Washington this week marks the sixth interaction between the two top defense officials.
- "What the signing of this shows is that the Modi government is willing to take and suffer the short-term political criticism of signing these things for the longer-term benefit of building the defense relationship with the United States, " said Benjamin Schwartz, until last year the India country director at the Pentagon.
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