Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India to be treated as NATO ally


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : HR 2123

Mains level : India-US strategic relationship

  • American lawmakers have reintroduced a key legislation in their House of Representatives which seeks to advance the US-India strategic relationship.

HR 2123 Bill

  • It seeks to send a powerful signal that defence sales to India should be prioritized according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which had worked on this important legislation.
  • The proposed legislation follows the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017 including special language that designated India as a “Major Defence Partner” of the US.
  • Although powerful in its own right, the NDAA FY 2017 has no legal bearing on the State Department’s body of legislation, nor does it compel the State Department to view defence with India more favorably.
  • To fulfil the spirit and intent of the NDAA 2017, the US-India Enhanced Cooperation Act would amend the Arms Export Control Act to put India on par with NATO allies and Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
  • The two taken together illustrates the major changes that have taken place in the India-US relationship over the past two decades.

Impact of the legislation

  • If enacted, the legislation would ensure that the US State Department treats India as a “NATO ally” for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act.
  • India is the world’s largest democracy, a pillar of stability in the region, and has shown strong commitments to export control policies.
  • This adjustment to US law will further allow the US-India partnership to flourish in line with our security commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
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