Two top American senators have introduced a legislation which if passed by Congress would lift up the status of the Indo-US defence relationship on same level with that of America's closest allies like NATO and Israel, as PM Narendra Modi’s visit is expected next month
The US-India Defene Technology and Partnership Act were introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn - co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus - yesterday.
The legislation has been sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for obligatory action.
The legislation, a similar version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in March. A prevailing indication has been sent to institutionalize the US government which usually focuses on US-India relationship saying that US is a consistent and dependable defenc partner.
"This bill supports strengthening our bilateral relationship, particularly in defence, and bestows upon India the status it deserves as a partner in promoting security in Asia and around the world," Warner said in a declaration issued by US India Business Council (USIBC) which commended the bill.
India being an important partner with a prosperous economy has huge potential as a market for US defence manufacturers, which support millions of American jobs, he added.
The bill puts India on same level with America's closest defense partners, including NATO member states and Israel, for the purpose of congressional defense sales notifications.
For the US, it encourages the executive branch to assign an official to focus on US-India defence cooperation, smooth the progress of the transfer of defence technology and maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
It urges the US government to enhance India's military capabilities in the context of combined military planning, and promote co-production and co-development opportunities.
It encourages the Indian government to empower combined military planning with the US for missions of mutual interest such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter piracy, and maritime domain awareness.
"The commercial and security imperatives for a robust defence partnership between the US and India could not be clearer. Defence trade has risen from some USD 300 million to over USD 14 billion over the last 10 years and there is every reason to expect it to rise further. USIBC strongly supports this bill and encourages widespread support in the Senate," said USIBC president Mukesh Aghi.