Washington: Two top lawmakers have moved legislation in the US Senate, seeking key amendment in the country’s Arms Control Export Act to bring India at par with the US’ NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies as far as the sale of high-tech military items is concerned. If passed, this will bring India at par with countries like Israel, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea
The necessary amendment to the United States Arms Control Act has been moved by Senators Mark Warner, a Democrat, and John Cornyn, a Republican. If this amendment is passed then it will further institutionalize recent designation of India as a major defence partner of the United States.
The move by Cornyn and Warner comes after India and the US signed the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement) last year.
The two countries are also in advance discussion to sign another foundational agreement of the BECA (Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement).
“It is a significant development,” said Mukesh Aghi, president of United States India Strategic and Partnership Forum, an advocacy group, which along with others, has been working on legislative changes to remove barriers to the export of major high-tech defence equipment to India that is shared with only a few countries.
“It’s an important signal of United States political support for enhancing defence ties but is unlikely to have a tangible impact on trade flows in the near term,” said Benjamin Schwartz, from the United States India Business Council.
The amendment has to be passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be signed by the President into law. Sources said the amendment moved as part of the National Defense Authorization Act 2020, would sail through Congress.