India can soon get Nato ally-like status as two US Senators move bill

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jun 17, 2019, 01:56 PM IST

File photo Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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If this bill is passed, it would show that India is a priority for the US administration in terms of defence sales.

India could soon be as important for the United States as Nato allies if a bill moved by two US Senators gets through.

The bill moved by Democrat Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Cornyn seeks to amend certain sections of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2020 of US on foreign military sales. The bill proposes amendment "(1) in sections 3(d)(2) (B), 3(d)(3)(A)(i), 3(d)(5), 21(e)(2)(A), 36(b)(1), 36(b)(2), 36(b)(6), 36(c)(2) (A), 36(c)(5), 36(d)(2)(A), 62(c)(1), and 63(a)(2), by inserting ‘‘India,’’ before ‘‘or New Zealand’’ each place it appears; (2) in section 3(b)(2), by inserting ‘‘the Government of India,’’ before ‘‘or the Government of New Zealand’’; and (3) in sections 21(h)(1)(A) and 21(h)(2), , by inserting ‘‘India,’’ before ‘‘or Israel’’ each place it appears."

If this bill is passed, it would show that India is a priority for the US administration in terms of defence sales, according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), which had worked on this important legislation.

This development comes days after the Trump administration revoked the preferential trade status under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) programme. India was the largest beneficiary of the programme in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status.

The original co-sponsors of the legislation are Congressman Ami Bera the longest-serving Indian-American in Congress and the House India Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressmen George Holding, Brad Sherman and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Ted Yoho.

The NDAA for fiscal 2017 included special language recognising the unique US-India defence relationship that designated India as a "Major Defence Partner" of the United States.

Although powerful in its own right, the NDAA has no legal bearing on the State Department's body of legislation, nor does it compel the State Department to view defence with India more favourably, USISPF said in a statement.

This is yet another significant development after signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) agreement with the US, which allows both countries to share encrypted technology for the defence sector.