Senate fails to pass amendment to boost India's defence sales

Washington, Jun 16: A legislative amendment that aims to bring defence sales with India at par with America's close allies and NATO members failed to get the US Senate's nod.

Called the "Defence and Security Co-operation with India", the legislative amendment was moved by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk on May 25 as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017.

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"Unfortunately the Senator's amendment was not included in the final NDAA FY17," a Congressional aide to the Senator told PTI. Notably the US House of Representatives has already passed a similar amendment attached to the NDAA-2017.

The two versions of the bill would now have to be reconciled by both the Chambers of the Congress through conference. It is only after the common version of the bill is passed, US President Barack Obama would sign that into law.

Another amendment moved by Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that sought to recognise India as a global strategic and defence partner by making necessary modifications to defence export control regulations could not get the Senate's nod.

The legislative move is not linked with the recent joint India-US statement in which Obama Administration had recognised India as a "Major Defence Partner". The statement was issued last week after the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House.

As per the joint statement, under Major Defence Partner, the US will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners, it had said.

McCain in a statement expressed disappointment over several legislative move, saying that even though they had bipartisan support they could not get through the Senate as part of NDAA-2017.

"I regret that the Senate was unable to debate and vote on several matters critical to our national security, many of which enjoyed broad bipartisan support," McCain said without specifically mentioning the legislative amendment related to India.

The McCain amendment said that the relationship between the US and India has developed over the past two decades to become a multifaceted, global strategic and defense partnership rooted in shared democratic values and the promotion of mutual prosperity, greater economic cooperation, regional peace, security, and stability.


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