US Senate refuses to pass bill seeking special status for India

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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the joint session of the US Congress earlier this month, his supporters billed it as one of the most amazing spectacles being witnessed in recent times.

While many of the prime minister’s supporters were left in awe over his ability to make 45 minute speech in English (albeit with the help of teleprompter), others said that multiple standing ovations were sign of India’s positioning as one of the most trusted allies of America.

However, just a later, it has now emerged that the US Senate refused 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.

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According to PTI report, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent address to a joint session of Congress, top 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

The US had recognised India as a “major defence partner” in a joint statement issued after Modi held talks with President Barack Obama supporting defence-related trade and technology transfer to the country.

NDAA was passed by the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 85-13. But some of the key amendments including the (SA 4618) even though they had bipartisan support could not be passed by the Senate

“The (Senate) amendment (No 4618) was not adopted to the NDAA,” a Congressional aide told PTI

Without specifically mentioning this particular legislative move on India, McCain expressed disappointment that many key amendments could not see the light of day

“I regret that the Senate was unable to debate and vote on several matters critical to our national security, many of which enjoyed broad bipartisan support,” McCain said in a statement

“In particular, I am deeply disappointed the Senate was not able to increase the number of special immigrant visas for Afghans who risked their lives to help America in a time of war, and whose lives are still at risk today,” he said

“Too often throughout this process, a single senator was able to bring the Senate’s work on our national defence to a halt. This was a breakdown in the decorum of the Senate, and one that will have serious consequences,” McCain said

 

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