A legislative amendment has been moved in the US Senate to bring the defence sales with India at par with America’s close allies and NATO members.
The amendment ‘Defence and Security Cooperation with India’ to National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 was moved in the Senate on Wednesday by Senator Mark Kirk.
The Senate is likely to vote NDAA-2017 next week.
“The Secretary of Defence, in coordination with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce, shall ensure that the authorisation of any proposed sale or export of defence articles, defence services, or technical data to India is treated in a manner similar to that of the US’ closest partners and allies, which include NATO members, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Israel and New Zealand,” says the amendment.
As per the amendment, the US President shall endeavour to further align laws, regulations, and systems within India and the US for the facilitation of defence trade and the protection of mutual security interests.
The President shall develop a plan for such facilitation and coordination efforts that identifies key priorities, any impediments, and the timeline for such efforts, it says.
If passed by the Congress, it would require the President to submit to the Congress a report detailing this coordination plan.
The US House of Representatives has already passed a similar amendment attached to the NDAA-2017.
However, the House version of the amendment, which was passed by voice vote, which also calls for strengthening of India-US Defence ties, does not specifically mentions bringing the defence trade to that of a NATO ally.
Once the Senate passes NDAA-17, both versions of the bill would have to be aligned through a conference between the two Chambers of the Congress.
It is only after the common version of the bill is passed, President Barack Obama would sign that into law.
Early this month, Senator Mark Warner and John Cornyn – Co-Chairs of the Senate India Caucus – had tabled the Advancing US-India Defence Cooperation Act.
Senator Marco Rubio, the former Republican presidential candidate, is another co-sponsor of the bill.
It has been sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for necessary action.