U.S. House votes for enhanced defence cooperation with India

The U.S House of Representatives has passed amendments to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017, seeking to enhance the country’s defence cooperation with India. A similar bill is under the consideration of the Senate also.

The bipartisan move of the U.S Congress seeks to bring India at par with NATO allies for technology and equipment sale. Once signed into law by the president, these provisions will liberalise the sale of a wide range of technologies to India, bypassing bureaucratic and legislative approvals. It also seeks to open a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the U.S.-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). The Senate is likely to pass the bill before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the joint session of Congress on June 8.

The amendment - Enhancing Defence and Security Co-operation with India --in the House was sponsored by members George Holding and Ami Bera who are chairs of the House India Caucus, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce and Ranking Member Elliot Engel. The U.S.-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act in the Senate was introduced by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, 'co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus. Senator Marco Rubio has also joined as a sponsor.

"It seeks to promote greater defence trade and encourage additional military cooperation between the United States and India," Mr. Holding said on the floor of the House. "I believe that by requiring our government to take actions such as strengthening Defence Technology and Trade Initiative and encouraging combined military planning with India, we can make certain that the U.S.-India defence relationship endures.”

"Given the dynamic nature of the Indo- Pacific region and its importance to our own national security and future economic growth, now is the time to build on recent successes and propel the U.S.-India strategic partnership forward,” he said.

In another set of amendments to the NDAA, the House has tightened the flow of aid to Pakistan. As per the new conditions, the Secretary of Defence must certify to Congress that Pakistan is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the U.S. to persecute minority groups seeking political or religious freedom. The amendments also put new conditions before Pakistan can access $450 million next year in Coalition Support Fund, which is for reimbursing costs incurred in Afghanistan.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 9:57:32 PM |

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