Act to lift ties with India introduced in Senate

11 May 2016 | By Achin Garg

A bill, US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act, has been introduced in the US Senate to take India-US security relations to new levels.

The bill was introduced by the co-chairs of a task group (Senate India Caucus) Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn in the upper house of the US Congress.

The bill puts India in the league of America's closest defence partners.

In context: Enhancing Indo-US defence ties

About Indo-US defence ties

Indo-US defence ties have been on an ascendency over the last 15 years.

The Indo-US Defence Framework Agreement was signed in 2005 and was renewed again in 2015.

The Defence Technology and Trade Initiative elevates Indo-US defence ties from a buyer-seller relationship to co-development/co-production partners.

The US not only ensured NSG (Nuclear Supplier Group) waiver for India but also supports India's membership to NSG.

US becomes the largest supplier of defence euipment

The US has pipped Russia to become the largest supplier of defence equipment to India. The defence trade between the 2 nations has risen from $300 million to $14 billion over the last 10 years.
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11 May 2016Act to lift ties with India introduced in Senate

Why What propels the US to have such a law?

The US sees India as a huge potential market for American defence manufacturing industry which supports millions of jobs in the US.

Further, a rapidly rising Indian economy and strengthening of the Indo-US bilateral relationship, especially in defence is another reason for such a bill.

Moreover, the US also sees India as an important partner in promoting security in Asia and in the world.

Provisions The law calls for special focus on India

The law encourages the US to not only designate an official to focus on Indo-US defence cooperation but also facilitate the transfer of technology.

It also calls for establishing a special office in Pentagon, the US defence force headquarters, for the implementation of the India-US DTTI.

The law also aims to augment India's military capabilities in areas such as military planning, co-development, co-production, etc.

Law calls for Indian support

The law encourages Indian government for combined military planning with the US in areas of mutual interest such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counter-piracy, and maritime domain awareness.
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11 May 2016Bill gives a powerful signal to New Delhi

The bill's timing is important as it comes weeks before the scheduled America visit of PM Modi where he is expected to address a joint session of the US Congress.

The bill, which has been sent to the foreign relations committee for review, gives a powerful signal that the US is a reliable defence partner.

The US-India Business Council has applauded the bill.

China and Pakistan will closely watch the bill

Both Pakistan and China will be keenly watching the progress of the bill as it takes India-US defence ties to new heights and moves India closer to the US.

20 May 2016US House approves bill enhancing Indo-US defence partnership

The US House of Representatives approved amendments to a bill that seeks to bring India at par with the US's NATO allies, in terms of defence and technology transfer.

Congressman George Holding and Ami Bera along with house Chair Ed Royce and Elliot Engel sponsored the "Enhancing Defence and Security Co-operation with India" amendment.

The amendment was made to the National Defence Authorisation Act.

3 Jun 2016India, US sign terror info sharing pact

India and the US signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exchange of intelligence on terror suspects that includes sharing of biometric information on suspects.

The MoU was inked by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.

However, the deal which will also give US officials access to India's terror database was opposed by the IB and R&AW.

17 Jun 2016US Congressional push for India's UNSC bid

In a push to India's bid for permanent membership in the United Nation's Security Council, a resolution was passed in the US House of Representatives, saying India's membership would strengthen democracy around the world.

It was introduced by by Congressman Frank Pallone and Congressman Ami Bera.

However, it is yet unclear how far the resolution will help secure India's membership.