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US senators introduce legislations to strengthen Ind-US defence

Washington: Two top senators from the ruling Republican and opposition Democratic parties have introduced legislations to strengthen the India-US defence ties, especially in the area of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft and to accelerate joint research and development in the military field.

Moving an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2021, Senator Mark Warner and Senator John Cornyn asked for assessment from Defence Secretary Mark Esper whether the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation and Fund provides a model for US-India private sector collaboration on defence and critical technologies.

Warner is Vice Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee while Cornyn is the Republican Whip. Both are co-chairs of the powerful Senate India Caucus.

Their legislative amendment asks the Defence Secretary to provide a briefing on joint defence and related industrial and technology research and development and personnel exchange opportunities between the US and India. It also seeks assessment of whether additional funds are necessary for the defence technology and trade initiative for seed funding and personnel exchanges.

Senator Cornyn, in another amendment to NDAA, asked the Defence Secretary to provide India a briefing on the fifth-generation fighter jets programme of the US within 180 days of the passage of the legislation.

The amendment seeks a report from the Pentagon to the Congress on the topics covered in the briefing and recommendations for increasing cooperation between the two countries as India develops its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

Cornyn and Warner have moved another amendment jointly to include India in the list of NATO plus countries like Israel and New Zealand when it comes to exporting top secret American defence technology and equipment to India.

Another resolution moved by Senator John Sullivan seeks expansion of defence-specific engagement in multilateral frameworks, including the quadrilateral dialogue among the US, India, Japan and Australia to promote regional security and defend shared values and common interests in the rules-based order.

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