Though Washington went ahead with his decision to supply F16s to Pakistan, a major Congressional resolution in favour of India actually identifies New Delhi as a much stronger force worth strengthening friendship with. On Wednesday, Congressman George Holding, Co-Chair of the House India Caucus, introduced a resolution that would bring India at par with all the NATO allies of America.
The US-India Defense Technology and Partnership Act (HR 4825), if adopted, will formally make India a major defence partner with an amendment to the Arms Export Control Action.
A key aspect of this legislation is that it will significantly reduce the time (and shorten the process) required in defence notifications between India and US.
While defence trade between US and India have risen from $300 million to $14 billion in the last 10 years, there has been a particular rise in the same under the Modi government.
Last year, India signed a $3 billion deal with US to procure 20 Apache assault helicopters and 15 Chinhook heavy lift choppers.
The US is also extending technological assistance
to India in the latter’s indigenous development of INS Vishal. So why is US opening such a route for India?
One reason is India’s growing might as a responsible powerhouse which has become visible to the world in recent times.
Another reason is the plan Washington’s foreign policy planners have for Asia. US plans for Asia have been a corollary of China’s political moves. A third is that India offers a huge market for defence products.
At the same time, Holding bitterly criticised and questioned Washington’s decision of selling F16s to Pakistan.
The resolution comes just before the scheduled April visit of US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to India.