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US passes defence budget, eyes stronger India ties

The House of Representatives passed a defence budget of $621.5 billion for FY18

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Modi and Trump

The annual 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 with India, already a major partner of the

An amendment on enhancing with 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.

“The is the world’s oldest and is the world’s largest It is vitally important to develop a strategy that advances between our two nations,” Bera said.

“I am grateful this amendment is passed and look forward to the defence department’s strategy that addresses critical issues like common challenges, the role of partners and allies, and areas for in science and technology,” he added.

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

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 and India.

The needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the for the US President Donald to sign into law. As passed by the House, the NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the to develop a strategy that addresses common 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 on a range of issues.

First Published: Sun, July 16 2017. 00:44 IST