Early to speculate on US Senate vote on defence sales: India

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) India on Thursday said it was early to speculate on the US Senate’s rejection of a key legislative amendment that would have brought India at par with NATO members and other allies in terms of American defence sales.

The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 “is in the process of its formulation and it would be premature to speculate about its final content”, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here,

The NDAA is a federal law that specifies the budget and expenditures of the US defence department and determines the agencies responsible for defence. It also limits funding levels and sets out the policy framework under which money will be spent for defence purposes.

As moved in the Senate on Wednesday, one of the amendments to the law included modification of American defence export control regulations that would have recognised India as a key strategic military partner. However, the amendment was reported to have been shot down by the Senate.

“We have seen media reports about non-inclusion of an India-related amendment in the consideration of the NDAA by the US Senate,” Swarup said.

He said that the preparation of act in the US Congress involved approval of different versions in the House of Representatives and the Senate and their reconciliation to evolve a single consensual text, which is again put to vote in both chambers.

The spokesman, however, said the US government had already recognised India as its major defence partner and the preparation of the NDAA “is a process distinct from the decision”.

“This was an executive decision and already announced in the India-US Joint Statement of June 7. A number of Senators and Congressmen have moved proposals that only seek to reinforce this decision of the US government. It reflects the bipartisan support in the US Congress for stronger defence cooperation between India and the US,” Swarup added.



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