US House bill proposes closer military ties with India
The US House of Representatives in Congress has passed a $ 621.5 billion military expenditure bill that proposes to advance military cooperation with India.
An India-related amendment was passed by the House as part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), beginning on October 1 of this year.
The amendment, sponsored by Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera, requires the US Defense Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop a strategy for advancing military cooperation between the US and India.
“I am grateful this amendment passed and look forward to the Defense 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.
“It is vitally important to develop a strategy that advances defense cooperation between our two nations,” he said.
NDAA needs to be passed by the Senate, which is the upper chamber of Congress, before it can be sent to the White House for the US President Donald Trump to sign into law.
The 2017 NDAA had designated New Delhi as a major military partner of Washington, which brings India at par with closest US partners in terms of arms trade and technology transfer.
On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a massive military bill for the year 2018 that far exceeds Trump’s previous budget request.
The bill allows the allocation of a military budget of $696 billion for the fiscal year 2018, which blows past Trump’s requested $603 billion budget.
The bill also exceeds a strict military spending cap of $549bn imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act by about $72 billion.
The US already has the highest military spending in the world. The new budget increase serves to further expand the US military as Trump has promised.
Trump has pledged a “massive” increase in the pentagon’s budget spending to implement “the greatest military build-up in American history.”