The Indo-US End Use Monitoring Agreement raised the hackles of the political opposition in Parliament on Tuesday, with members walking out after being frustrated with the meager statement made by the External Affairs Minister SM Krishna.
“We have agreed on the end-use monitoring arrangements that will henceforth be referred to in letters of acceptance for Indian procurement of US defence technology and equipment,” he said.
Opposition MPs (Members of Parliament) had asked the government for a statement clarifying the provisions of the yet-to-be-signed agreement. Former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha was the first to put the government on the mat, asking whether the pact would allow US inspection even for military purchases from third countries if they had used American technology and whether inspectors would be able to make on-site visits to sensitive installations to inspect fixed, immovable assets.
The Leader of the Opposition, Lal Krishna Advani also asked the government to clarify if the agreement would have retrospective effect.
According to SM Krishna, the end-use monitoring of high-technology military equipment has always existed, something which would be generalized by the umbrella End User Monitoring Agreement. “We do it for other countries also. It is all straight and it is in the larger interest of the country.” He said the agreement merely “systemizes ad-hoc arrangements for individual defence procurements from the US entered into by previous governments.”
The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate compliance with US laws on verification of the use of high-technology military equipment sold by the US. While so far, each sale has had a separate end use monitoring condition attached to the contract, this agreement is supposed to provide cover for all future sales. The government has touted the agreement as a victory of sorts, claiming India will be able to decide the time and place of any inspection the US might want to carry out under the agreement.