US House passes $621.5 billion defence bill for increasing co-operation with India

The India-related amendment passed by the House requires the Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: July 15, 2017 10:47 am
US House of Representatives (Representational)

The US House of Representatives has passed a USD 621.5 billion defence policy bill that proposes to advance defence cooperation with India. An amendment in this regard, moved by Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera, was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, beginning October 1 this year. NDAA-2018 was passed by the House 344-81.

The India-related amendment passed by the House requires the Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India. “The United States is the world’s oldest democracy and India is the world’s largest democracy. It is vitally important to develop a strategy that advances defence cooperation between our two nations,” Bera said.

“I am grateful this amendment passed and look forward to the Defence 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,” he said.

“Cooperation between the US and India enhances our own defence and our ability to meet the evolving security challenges of the 21st century,” Bera said. Following the passage of the National Defence Authorisation Act, the Secretary of Defence and Secretary of State have 180 days to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India.

NDAA needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for the US President Donald Trump to sign into law. As passed by the House, NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges, the role of American partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative.

It also 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. The previous NDAA-2017 had designated India as a major defence partner which brings India at par with closest American partners in terms of defence trade and technology transfer.

Meanwhile, a senior defence official yesterday said that India and US defence relationship is on positive track. “… [As] we look at the global order, and when we look at the evolving security environment within Asia, India’s rise and role [is] evolving, [and] we see the United States and India increasingly viewing the region in the same way, and our interests are very much aligned,” said Cara Abercrombie, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia.

Addressing a New York audience, she said the relationship creates a high level of dialogue in the Pentagon on a range of issues. “This is all rooted in when we look at the region and [what] we share. We have the same [aerial] security interests, the same counter-proliferation, counter-piracy, and counter-terrorism [interests],” she added.

“We have the same interests in upholding this international system that upholds the rule of law that favours freedom of navigation, open sea lanes of communication, and freedom of over flight. Those are values that are critically important to the United States and India to our economic prosperity and to our access in the region,” Abercrombie said during a panel discussion at the 2017 Global Business Forum in New York City.

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    Babu Gupta
    Jul 15, 2017 at 6:20 pm
    Currently India has no choice but to get closer to US in common interests. India is being encircled and threatened by China with its proxy state of vicious Porkistan. India should also get closer to Israel for military know how and supplies. India should never forget that every country including friends and no friends all have ONLY their interests in alliances. Currently China is bullying India and threatening to interfere in Kashmere also.
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      harisson Paige
      Jul 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm
      This is not an cooperation bill this is an aid bill who USA will be providing to India in regards to his own ambitions and also for helping India to acquire military assistance So for news paper needs to use the right word so reader could understand better
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        Mahira Khan
        Jul 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm
        This will just end us in a horrible war that will destroy us and lead to suffering, starvation and misery. Are we so keen to become the slaves again for an imperialist? Have we not learnt the lessons from the British rulers? Are we so keen to send our children to their slaughter? Can we not rise against this and hope for peace for all
        Reply
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          SK Gupta
          Jul 15, 2017 at 2:21 pm
          Let us Not get fooled by such gimmicks of the US. We must remain non- aligned in spirit and word. The US is an unreliable ally. Like Henry Kissinger said on his last visit to India " The US is, nor was, pro- Pakistan or pro- India. Only Pro- US ". We too must concentrate on our own interests only. And be wary of the Americans!
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            Mahira Khan
            Jul 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm
            All their "allies" have turned to their worst enemies. Iraq, Afghanistan. Will we become the sheep or slaves of the US? We should think about what is best for us. Do not be fooled
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            Seb
            Jul 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm
            India´s Position now is that it was being encircled by ist neighbours China along with Pak together and moreover, Russia too closing more with China and Pak surprisingly, In such a juncture, India´s move to co-operate along with US´s NDAA is most sensible for India´s own defence modernization and just to deter the threatening Position of ist neighbours as mentioned above.
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              SK Gupta
              Jul 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm
              Let us Not get fooled by such gimmicks of the US. We must remain non- aligned in spirit and word. The US is an unreliable ally. Like Henry Kissinger said on his last visit to India " The US is nor was pro- Pakistan or pro- India. Only pro-US ". We too must concentrate on our own interests only. And be wary of the Americans!
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                Mahira Khan
                Jul 15, 2017 at 3:16 pm
                Yes brother. We should learn from the mistakes of British dividing us and ruling us as our friends!
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                lafanga
                Jul 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm
                India is being prepped to take on China. Don't make enemies in your neighbourhood to please someone 10000 miles away. The US is a waning power. EU is breaking apart while China and Russia are getting closer and bolder.
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                  Mad about
                  Jul 15, 2017 at 11:40 am
                  Americans and India should have developed strategic relationship long back, but Americas were and are very opportunistic, only think of their own interest. India has no choice, after the collapse of USSR and Russians being headed by a dictator - Putin, who is getting closer to other dictators such as Porkis, is. India must get closer to USA to counter Russia, China, Pak encircling, but at the same time be aware of American's opportunistic nature. Even now, Lockeed Martin has offered an outdated jet F16 to be manufactured in India, not any new state of the art technological product. Hope F16 leads to F22, F35, B52 etc.
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                    bresnav tronosky
                    Jul 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm
                    we are annnoyed with ever closing militry ties with USA and high spending / you indians are two faced /you call russians your brothers and yhen join with america iif this is not two facced what is you have secretly done a deal at russias expence we russians hate your two faced look /we warn you upset us at your peril /
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                      VT
                      Jul 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm
                      Do u think Russia will come to our aid us if China goes on an offensive? India is just working towards its own security. Don't take these steps as antagonizing you. Remember, Russia didn't transfer cryogenic tech to us become of opposition from the US. Eventually we developed our own after a decade of hardship. So every country has its constraints and we r just working towards overcoming them while still retaining the independent stand on the geopolitical matters. We r and will continue to be friends of Russia unless u turn away.
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