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US senators push for enhanced military cooperation with India

Saturday, May 28, 2016,12:09 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | A bipartisan group of four top US Senators have made a Congressional move pushing enhanced military and intelligence cooperation between the two nations, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit during which defence cooperation is expected to be a major focus.

Senator John Sullivan moved the amendment ‘Military-to- Military exchanges with India’ to National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 on Thursday. It is being co-sponsored by Senator John Corny and Mark Warner ¬†the two co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus ¬†along with Senator Mark Kirk.

The legislative amendment asks the Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, to ensure that the India-US co-operation are at a level appropriate to enhance engagement between the militaries of the two countries for developing threat analysis, military doctrine, force planning, logistical support, intelligence collection and analysis, tactics, techniques, and procedures, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

To enhance military cooperation and encourage engagement in joint military operations between the two countries, the amendment says that the Defence Secretary may take appropriate actions to ensure that exchanges between senior military officers and senior civilian defence officials of Indian and US governments include exchanges of general and flag officers.

According to the amendment, the Defence Secretary is also asked to ensure significant enhancement of joint military operations, including maritime security, counter-piracy, counter-terror cooperation, and domain awareness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The NDAA-2017 is scheduled to be taken up for voting by the Senate next week. The House of Representatives has already passed its version of the defence bill. Both the bills have differences, which would be shorted out through a conference so that the Senate and House versions are alike. It would be sent to the White House for US President Barack Obama to sign into law once the House and the Senate passes alike version of NDAA-17.

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