Days ahead of the seventh round of military talks between India and China amid the most serious standoff between the two nations in decades, a US Navy aircraft carrier appears to be heading towards the Indian Ocean.
Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier of the US Navy, USS Ronald Reagan, was seen moving towards the Indian Ocean through the Malacca Strait. This development comes just days after P8 maritime patrol aircraft of the US Navy landed at the Andaman and Nicobar Island in the Indian Ocean.
The submarine-hunting aircraft had landed at the strategically located island chain for refueling. The aircraft was refueled by India under a logistics exchange agreement signed between New Delhi and Washington in 2016.
The agreement, called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement or LEMOA, is one of the many foundational agreements the US signs with its partners and allies to cement close military ties. It gives India and the US access to each other’s military facilities for replenishment and refueling.
Indian Navy vessels have also used the agreement to refuel from US Navy tankers. In September, an Indian Navy warship deployed in the northern part of the Arabian Sea was refueled by a US Navy tanker.