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09 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

Introduction :The article discuss about the new developments in Indo-US defence ties.

The defence relationship between the two countries are flourishing very fast. Some of the legacy issues finally nearing closure; others are new entrants in the bilateral agenda.

LEMOA

    LEMOA or Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement is another name for Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), an agreement the US has with many of its allies. But this has been especially tailored for India, following negotiations for over a decade.

Features:

  • LEMOA allows each military to avail logistics support facilities — fuel, spare parts, mechanics,etc. — of the other while on joint training, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and port calls.
  • The agreement lays out the procedure for billing for these facilities as part of a larger accounting transaction, and details are contained in the clarifying protocols annexed to LEMOA.
  • Under LEMOA, while Indian logistics support will be available to the US military, Indian armed forces will benefit from access to a large number of US military bases globally, particularly while undertaking HADR missions in a diaspora crisis.
  • It will allow India to respond promptly to emerging situations or humanitarian crises, and will expand Indian military’s operational environment globally.

Major Defence partner

  • The US has recognised India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP). This follows a long-standing Indian demand to provide predictability and transparency in the US system that approves transfer of military equipment and technology.
  • MDP is not an established category, and this nomenclature has been especially created for India, because a legislative amendment to bring a change in India’s status would have been a longdrawn and difficult process.
  • By recognising India as an MDP, the White House is signalling its system to expedite Indian defence licences.
  • Coupled with India’s entry into the MTCR, this is going to help India get modern defence technology from the US by moving to the approved category of the Arms Control List.
  • But as it is neither a Presidential Directive nor a legislative amendment, the robustness of the process will be brought out by the outcomes.

White Shipping Agreement

  • The Statement welcomes the conclusion of a technical arrangement for sharing “White Shipping” information.
  • The countries signed the White Shipping Agreement (WSA) last month, which enhances their maritime domain awareness and fits in with the Maritime Security Dialogue, the only 2+2 dialogue that India has with any country.
  • The WSA establishes an information network protocol that allows the two navies to exchange information about ships in their waters.
  • Ships are usually classified into white (commercial ships), grey (military vessels), and black (illegal vessels).
  • After signing the WSA, the two sides will be able to exchange information about white ships,which may not be known to the other side.

Information Exchange Annex

  • India is constructing an indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) at its shipyard in Cochin, and has plans for a second aircraft carrier (IAC-2) in the near future.
  • For availing technologies available with the US, an agreement and protocol for sharing information — maintaining its confidentiality and integrity — was needed to be signed.
  • The Information Exchange Annex is that protocol. Since then, a team of senior US Navy officials has visited the shipyard at Cochin last month to help with some issues in the IAC-1.

Question: Indo-US defence ties are reaching a new height in the dynamic global security environment. Comment on the recent initiatives taken by the two countries to tackle such security issues.

Suggested Approach:

  1. Write about new threats coming up in the world.
  2. Recent defence agreements between India-US.
  3. Conclude with the need to work together to counter such threats.

Link: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/prime-minister-narendra-modi-us-visit-president-barackobama-nsg-nuclear-reactor-lemoa-white-shipping-agreement-2842064/

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09 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

Question : Experts believe that India is fast moving towards a crisis of groundwater overuse and contamination. In the light of this statement, trace the major challenges relating to the groundwater sector and suggest some measures.

Suggested Answer:

 The major challenges are:

  • The current assessment methodology used for groundwater estimation makes the available data indicative and not representative.
  • Overexploitation of water by water intensive crops.
  • The practice of providing power subsidies for agriculture has played a major role in the decline of water levels in India.
  • Inadequate regulation of groundwater law.
  • Continuous decrease of quality of groundwater due to increasing pollution and presence of contaminants like arsenic, nitrate, fluoride, salinity, etc.

? Suggestions:

  • Assessment of groundwater resources should be undertaken on a regular basis. A single agency should be formed to maintain a database on (i) the amount of groundwater being utilised by various stakeholders, and (ii) natural and artificial recharge to groundwater.
  • A study to assess land-use and proportion of agricultural land falling under dark blocks (overexploited assessment units) should be initiated.
  • A well-defined policy on groundwater extraction for agriculture should also be framed to ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Bringing the subject of water under the concurrent list will help evolve a comprehensive plan of action.
  • Ministry of Water Resources in coordination with Central Pollution Control Board should devise an effective mechanism to identify critically polluted areas located in dark blocks. Steps to minimize and control the dumping of industrial waste into surface water and underground aquifers should also be taken.

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