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India to be on par with Nato allies? Key bill moved in Senate

By Anuj Cariappa

Washington, June 18: Two top American lawmakers have moved a legislation in the Senate, seeking key amendment in the country's Arms Control Export Act to bring India on par with the US' Nato allies - Israel, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea - when it comes to sale of high-tech military items.

The necessary amendment to the US Arms Control Act has been moved by Senators Mark Warner, a Democrat, and John Cornyn, a Republican, which if enacted, will further institutionalise the recent designation of India as a major defence partner of the US.

India to be on par with Nato allies? Key bill moved in Senate

The move by Cornyn and Warner comes after India and the US signed the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement) last year.

The two countries are also in advance discussion to sign another foundational agreement of the BECA (Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement).

US lawmakers move bill to give India NATO ally status

"It is a significant development," said Mukesh Aghi, president of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum, an advocacy group, which along with others, has been working on legislative changes to remove barriers to export of major high-tech defence equipment to India that is shared with only a few countries. "It's an important signal of US political support for enhancing defense ties but is unlikely to have tangible impact on trade flows in the near term," said Benjamin Schwartz, from US India Business Council.

The amendment has to be passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be signed by the President into law. Sources said the amendment moved as part of the National Defense Authorization Act 2020, would sail through Congress.

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