By not passing the key amendment, the US Senate has played smartly not to recognise India as a “global strategic and defence partner,” reports state.
The amendment that was moved to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-17) by John McCain, a top Republican senator, if passed would have given India a status of “global strategic and defence partner” of USA.
The proposed amendment was moved following India Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the joint session of Congress. Earlier U.S. had recognised India as a “major defence partner” after Modi held talks with Barack Obama.
The above status already covers joint defence-related trade and technology transfer to the country with India also being treated on par with America’s closest allies. However, the approval of the amendment would’ve also paved way for combined military planning for missions such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-piracy, and maritime domain awareness.
“The (Senate) amendment (No 4618) was not adopted to the NDAA,” a Congressional aide told PTI.
McCain expressed regret on the key amendments not being approved by the Senate.
“I regret that the Senate was unable to debate and vote on several matters critical to our national security, many of which enjoyed broad bipartisan support,” he said in a statement.
“In particular, I am deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to increase the number of special immigrant visas for Afghans who risked their lives to help America in a time of war, and whose lives are still at risk today,” he added.
Downplaying the same, India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “The preparation of NDAA in the US Congress involves approval of different versions in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and their reconciliation to evolve a single consensual text, which is again put to vote in both chambers.
“The 2017 NDAA is in the process of its formulation and it would be premature to speculate about its final content,” he added.