09:24 GMT +318 January 2020
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    The US Senate failed to adopt a key amendment aimed at easing defense exports and technology transfer policy vis-a-vis India.

    In a strong indication of the lingering trust deficit between the United States and India, despite decades of efforts to iron out differences, the US Senate, on Tuesday, failed to endorse a key amendment to the country's National Defense Authorization Act (NDDA-17) which sought to establish India as a major defense and strategic partner.

    The amendment bill was introduced by senior senator John McCain “to recognize the status of India as a global strategic and defense partner of the United States through appropriate modifications to defense export control regulations.”

    “The Senate amendment (No 4618) was not adopted to the NDDA” a Congressional aide told Indian news agency PTI.

    Amit Cowshis, former Finance Advisor to the Defense Ministry, said, “I think such hiccups are to be expected in Indo-US strategic relationship which carries the baggage of decades of cold war era trust deficit.”

    According to the document uploaded on the Congress website, the amendment was required for “the treatment of military sales and export authorizations to India in a manner similar to that of the closest defense partners of the United States.”

    The US defense firm Boeing and Lockheed Martin were very much keen on catering to the requirements of the Indian armed forces as ‘Major Defense Partner’ status could have helped them in transferring major defense technology to India.

    India is keen to invite only those foreign defense firms which could set up a production line in the country under ‘Make in India’. It is widely reported in the Indian media that the Indian government formally expressed interest in purchasing predator drones.

    A senior minister in the Indian government refused to accept this as a ‘setback’ for India.

    Amit Cowshis stated, “eventually the outcomes will depend on a number of factors including wider political support and assessment in both the countries of how far the mutual interests are served by a particular step, as in the case of India being accorded the status of a strategic partner by the US or India signing the logistics agreement with the US.”


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