Several US lawmakers introduce legislation in House of Representatives to strengthen US-India strategic partnership

In United States, a bipartisan group of half a dozen influential US lawmakers has reintroduced an important legislation in the House of Representatives which seeks to advance the US-India strategic relationship. 

If enacted, the legislation would ensure that the US State Department treat India as a NATO ally for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act.

It would send a powerful signal that defence sales to India should be prioritised according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which had worked on this important legislation. 

The bill HR 2123 was introduced this week by Congressman Joe Wilson, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Wilson said India is the world’s largest democracy, a pillar of stability in the region, and has shown strong commitments to export control policies.

The National Defense Authorization Act (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. The legislation bolsters national security and helps ensure full alignment between the Department of Defence and the Department of State. 

To fulfil the spirit and intent of the NDAA 2017, the US-India Enhanced Cooperation Act would amend the Arms Export Control Act to put India on par with NATO allies and Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

US-India Strategic Partnership Forum Chairman John Chambers said this legislation would be a major breakthrough for the US-India defense relationship.

The Hindu

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