Enhances military ties, defense trade with ‘major defense partner’ India
Washington, DC: With bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a $696 billion annual defense bill on Friday, in line with President Donald Trump's pledge to facilitate “the greatest military build-up in American history.” Indian Americans welcomed the provisions in the bill that directs the administration to declare India a “major defense partner”, to enhance military-to-military ties and defense trade between the two countries.
An amendment sponsored by Congressman Ami Bera, was adopted by a voice vote in the House, that requires the US Defense Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop a strategy for advancing military cooperation between the US and India within 180 days of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter. The bill asks them to address how to advance the communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement and the basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geospatial cooperation.
Congressman Bera said," I am grateful this amendment passed and look forward to the Defense Department's strategy that addresses critical issues like common security challenges, the role of partners and allies, and areas for collaboration in science and technology."
The Senate is working on its own version of the NDAA and will take a vote on it later this year. The two versions will need to be reconciled before it is sent to the White House for President Trump to sign into law or veto. The previous NDAA-2017 had designated India as a major defense partner, which brings India at par with closest American partners in terms of defense trade and technology transfer.
Sanjay Puri of the USINPAC, looking forward to the senate version of the defense bill remarked, “We need to resolve all impediments in co-production and co-development within the US-India defense trade and security. This bill provides a clear blueprint to develop and advance defense cooperation between our two nations.”
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community. Visit www.usinpac.com for more details.