• U.S.-India Business Council strongly supports legislation

Washington. May 13, 2016. On May 11, 2016, Congressmen George Holding (R-NC), Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ami Bera (D-CA) submitted an amendment to the House Committee on Rules in an effort to bolster defense ties between the United States and India. The legislation would amend the National Defense Authorization Act, which is considered a must-pass bill. The amendment has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, as demonstrated by the fact that the House India Caucus Chairs (Congressmen Holding and Bera) sponsored it along with the Chair and Ranking Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee (Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, respectively).

This legislation institutionalizes the U.S. government’s focus on the U.S.-India security relationship while sending a powerful signal to New Delhi that the United States is a reliable and dependable defense partner. For the United states, it encourages the executive branch to: designate an official to focus on US-India defense cooperation, facilitate the transfer of defense technology, maintain a special office in the Pentagon dedicated exclusively to the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), enhance India’s military capabilities in the context of combined military planning, and promote co-production/co-development opportunities.

For India, it encourages the government to authorize combined military planning with the United States for missions of mutual interest such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter piracy, and maritime domain awareness.

“Strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and India is critical to address the shared security challenges our two nations face. I am pleased to have introduced this amendment with the support of Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Dr. Bera to enhance and promote greater defense trade and military cooperation between the United States and India,” said Congressman Holding.

“As the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy, the United States and India share common values and a growing partnership on many fronts, especially on defense cooperation. India plays a critical role as a strategic partner to the United States, and as a pillar of stability in South Asia. I look forward to working with my colleagues to grow the economic and defense relationship between our countries,” said Congressman Bera.

“The legislation that was originally introduced by Congressman Holding is moving through the legislative process. Now that we have bipartisan support from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House India Caucus, we believe this amendment has a good chance of making its way into the House’s version of the defense authorization bill,” said USIBC President Mukesh Aghi.

Senators Warner (D-VA) and Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate India Caucus Chairs, introduced a similar bill (S. 2901) earlier this week in the Senate.