US House clears $600 billion bill boosting defence ties with India

The US House of Representatives has passed a defence policy bill worth $621.5 billion that proposes to advance defence cooperation with India. The amendment to the bill with reference to India was moved Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera and was adopted by a voice vote by the House as part of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, which will come into force from October 2017. The bill was passed by the House 344-81.

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The amendment to the bill stipulates that the US Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State, must develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between the United States and India. The bill has stipulated a time period of 180 days for the strategy.

The NDAA-2018 further expands upon the closer defence cooperation between India and the US. The previous NDAA-17 had brought India at par with the US’ other defence trade partners by designating India as a major defence partner. Once the bill is finally passed in the US Senate and by the US President, India and the US will solidify the partnership stated during PM Modi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump last month.

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