The US annual defence budget of about $621.5 billion for FY18 has been passed by the House of Representatives and, among other things, it seeks advancing of military cooperation with India, already a major defence partner of the US.
An amendment on enhancing cooperation with India was moved by Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera and was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defense Authorisation
Act (NDAA) 2018, beginning October 1 this year. The NDAA-2018 was passed by the House 344-81.
“I am grateful this amendment is 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 added.
Following the passage of the NDAA, the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State have 180 days to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation
between the US
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, the 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 the India-US defence
relationship, and the role of the defence
technology and trade initiatives.
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 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 defense for South and Southeast Asia. Addressing a New York audience, she said the relationship created a high level of dialogue in the Pentagon
on a range of issues.