Pentagon to formulate common defence strategy for India, U.S.

| Updated: Jul 16, 2017 04:55 IST

New York [U.S.A.], July 15 (ANI): The Trump administration has placed India at the highest level in terms of defence partnership by passing an amendment that authorises the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges of both New Delhi and Washington, the role of American partners and allies in the India-U.S. defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade . The U.S. House has passed a $696.5 billion defence policy bill in a bi-partisan vote on Friday, which calls for strengthening military cooperation and partnership with India. The House passed the bill 344-81, with 227 Republicans and 117 Democrats who voted yes and 8 Republicans and 73 Democrats who voted no. Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera's amendment was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, beginning October 1 this year. NDAA-2018 was passed by the House 344-81. The NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges, the role of American partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative. 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. "I am grateful this amendment is passed and look forward to the Defence Department's strategy that addresses critical issues like common security challenges, the role of partners and allies, and areas for collaboration in science and technology," Bera said. The 2018 U.S. defence policy bill calls for more ships, aircraft, and soldiers, and authorises $696 billion in defence spending in fiscal year 2018, well above President Trump's request. The House's version of the 2018 National Defence Authorisation Act now awaits Senate passage of its bill so the two can be reconciled. The Senate has yet to take up the $700-billion NDAA passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 28. India-U.S. defence partnership will cooperate on aerial security threats, maritime security threats, counter-proliferation, counter-piracy, and counter-terrorism. The bill would authorize $621.5 billion for the Pentagon's base budget and Energy Department nuclear programs and $75 billion for war funding, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. In addition, the bill takes $10 billion in OCO dollars to pay for base budget needs. Following the passage of the National Defence Authorisation Act, the Secretary of Defence and Secretary of State will have to formulate a strategy within for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India. NDAA needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for the US President Donald Trump to sign into law. The bill proposes $621.5 billion for the base budget and $75 billion in the wartime Overseas Contingency Operations account. Of that amount, $10 billion is allocated to base budget items. (ANI)

iocl