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What is the strategic significance of India’s military bases in foreign countries?

Source : WION

What is the strategic significance of India’s military bases in foreign countries?
An Indian Navy sailor, from the Marine Commando Force, secures a perimeter alongside U.S. Naval Special Warfare Group ONE and Japanese forces during an urban combat training scenario as part of MALABAR 2021 (Wikimedia) along with the country's military bases in Tajikistan and Agalega Island, Mauritius. Photograph:( Agencies )



Defence and sovereignty are important for India as it is a developing country. Both India and the West have expressed concerns over China’s advancement in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Indo-Pacific region.

In the scenario of a global conflict counter mechanisms can save India from severe complications.

Where are India’s overseas military bases located?

India does not have any military bases in the western hemisphere. However, it has signed several bilateral agreements with the US to use its military bases and vice-versa.

It can use the military base of the US under the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Both countries can use designated military facilities for refueling and replenishment under the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

It covers four areas, including port calls, joint exercises, training, and humanitarian assistance along with disaster relief.

Under the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, India is allowed to procure specialised equipment for encrypted communications existing on C-17, C-130, P-81s like US-origin platforms. This agreement gives India access to advanced defence systems as well.

US and India had signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement in 2020 which allows New Delhi to have real-time access to American Geospatial Intelligence. It will increase the accuracy of missiles and armed drones.

India is also discussing military pacts and logistics with Russia, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. 

If the pact with Russia gets signed, India will get access to Russian facilities in the Arctic region which will further increase the availability of shipping routes and resources.

It has signed a pact with other member countries of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) including the US, Japan and Australia to get access to the military logistics of any concerned country.

In 2002, India had built its first military base in Tajikistan. The negotiations of this base had been initiated by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). 

Previously, it was used to provide military supplies to the Afghan Northern Alliance and intelligence gathering. Known as Farkhor Air Base, India’s military is stationed here and it controls this base along with the Tajikistan military. 

It is strategically important as it provides depth and range in Central Asia. 

India has control over the Chabahar port in Iran which acts as a gateway between Afghanistan and Central Asia.It also resolves connectivity issues in the Indian Ocean.  

China’s increasing funding to the Gwadar port in Pakistan has become a cause of concern for India, as this port along with Chabahar port are often called ”sister ports.”

After Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran, Beijing has signed a $400 billion deal with Tehran.

India has modernised its military base in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are located near the Strait of Malacca. Through it, India can counter southeast Asia and the South China Sea.

According to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in the US, India has also developed naval surveillance facilities in Mauritius and Madagascar.

India had leased Agalega Island from Mauritius in 2015 and built a military base worth an estimated value of $87 million.

It has expedited the annual touring of all bases in the Indian Ocean with a small division of ships. From 2014 to 2015, Indian naval ships toured 50 countries in this region.

In 2018, India signed an agreement with the government of Seychelles to build a joint military base on the Assumption.

To counter China, India is increasing its presence from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean. However, it needs to increase military bases rather than just signing agreements with other countries.

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