‘Amendment to US National Defense Authorization Act will boost ties with India’

Washington, May 13 (IANS) A bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act will bolster US-India defence ties, facilitate the transfer of technology and enhance India’s military capabilities “while sending a powerful signal to New Delhi that the United States is a reliable and dependable defence partner”, a leading business lobby said on Friday.

The amendment, moved on Wednesday, has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, as demonstrated by the fact that the House India Caucus Chairs, Congressmen Goerge Holding and Ami Bera (D-CA), sponsored it along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, the USIBC said.

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) “strongly supports legislation that bolsters defence cooperation with India and facilitates additional co-production/co-development and trade”, it said in a statement.

The legislation “institutionalises the US government’s focus on the US-India security relationship while sending a powerful signal to New Delhi that the United States is a reliable and dependable defence partner”, the statement said.

For the United States, USIBC said, it encourages the executive branch to: designate an official to focus on US-India defence cooperation, facilitate the transfer of defence technology, maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), enhance India’s military capabilities in the context of combined military planning, and promote co-production/co-development opportunities.

For India, “it encourages the government to authorise combined military planning with the United States for missions of mutual interest such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-piracy, and maritime domain awareness”, the statement said.

“Strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and India is critical to address the shared security challenges our two nations face. I am pleased to have introduced this amendment with the support of Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Dr. Bera to enhance and promote greater defence trade and military cooperation between the United States and India,” Congressman Holding said.

“As the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy, the United States and India share common values and a growing partnership on many fronts, especially on defence cooperation. India plays a critical role as a strategic partner to the United States, and as a pillar of stability in South Asia. I look forward to working with my colleagues to grow the economic and defence relationship between our countries,” Congressman Bera said.

“The legislation that was originally introduced by Congressman Holding is moving through the legislative process. Now that we have bipartisan support from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House India Caucus, we believe this amendment has a good chance of making its way into the House’s version of the defence authorisation bill,” said USIBC President Mukesh Aghi.

Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, the Senate India Caucus Chairs, introduced a similar bill earlier this week in the Senate.



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