India on Thursday downplayed the US Senate rejecting a key amendment, recognising the country as “global strategic and defence partner”.
The US had recognised India as a “major defence partner” in a joint statement issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last week.
“We have seen reports about non-inclusion of an India-related amendment in the consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the US Senate”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
He said the preparation of NDAA in the US Congress involves approval of different versions in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and “their reconciliation to evolve a single consensual text, which is again put to vote in both chambers.”
“The 2017 NDAA is in the process of its formulation and it would be premature to speculate about its final content,” Swarup said.
“This was an executive decision and already announced in the India-US Joint Statement of June 7. A number of Senators and Congressmen have moved proposals that only seek to reinforce this decision of the US Government”, he said.
Swarup also argued this had reflected the “bipartisan support in the US Congress for stronger defence cooperation between India and the US.”
The US Senate failed to recognise India as a “global strategic and defence partner” of the US after a key amendment necessary to modify its export control regulations could not be passed.
Key Republican senator John McCain had moved an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-17) which, if passed, would have recognised India as a global strategic and defence partner. NDAA was passed by the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 85-13. But some of the key amendments including the (SA 4618) fell through even though they had bipartisan support.