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US House passes bill to advance defence co-operation with India

WASHINGTON (AFP): The US House of Representatives has passed a $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.

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. “Cooperation between the US and India enhances our own defence and our ability to meet the evolving security challenges of the 21st century,” Bera added.

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 two countries.

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.

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 on Friday 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.

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