- Adding India as the sixth member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plus would move New Delhi closer to a defence security alliance with the US
- The two democracies have recently made significant strides in defence cooperation, and the NDAA amendment will provide a significant boost to a robust India-US defence partnership.
Adding India as the sixth member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plus would move New Delhi closer to a defence security alliance with the US, according to American Congressman Ro Khanna.
Mr Khanna told ANI in an exclusive interview that NATO Allies get quick approval on defence agreements, and that the US has the same agreement with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, and South Korea.
“I’ve been working on adding India as the sixth country to that, which would facilitate and make it easier to have this growing Defense Partnership and ensure that we’re moving India toward more of a Defense Security alignment with the US and Russia. That was something I started two years ago. I’m going to keep working on it. Hopefully, that amendment will be passed in subsequent Congresses “He continued.
This comes after the United States (US) House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on July 14 that proposes deepening India-US defence ties. Khanna, a progressive Democrat from California, proposed this amendment.
Speaking about the waiver in the interests of US national security, Khanna stated that it was the most significant vote to strengthen the US-India relationship since the civilian nuclear deal, which was passed with a landslide of 300 bipartisan votes.
“It is in the interests of the United States because we require a strong partnership with India. Defence cooperation, strategic cooperation, particularly because we are two democratic nations, and with the rise of China and Putin, this alliance is critical for the United States “According to the Indian American Congressman.
The India-US nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in 2008 by the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, giving a boost to the two countries’ ties, which have since improved. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted India a special waiver, allowing it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries as part of the India-US nuclear deal.
It allowed India to separate its civilian and military programmes while also subjecting its civilian nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
The NDAA amendment is politically significant, and the overwhelming 300-plus bipartisan votes send a strong message to US President Joe Biden, providing him with the political support he needs to lift the sanctions.
Khanna has been in contact and coordination with top White House officials.
During an interview, Khanna stated that waiving the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which penalises countries that conduct significant defence transactions with Russia, is in the best national interests of the United States and the US-India defence partnership.
Khanna also stated, “The amendment would never have passed if the White House had not been open to its passage,” adding that this gave US President Joe Biden, his political backer, the authority to waive the sanctions. It almost guarantees that he will waive the sanctions.
However, the amendment has not yet become law. Only after the NDAA amendment is approved by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden will India be exempt from US sanctions related to its weapons systems relationship with Russia.
Khanna told ANI that Congress has sent a “very clear and resounding message” to President Donald Trump. “What was relevant is you have 300 House members, the vast majority going on referencing that the President of the United States,” Khanna said.
The relationship between the United States and India is critical. The sanctions should be lifted, according to the statement. And that sends a very clear, resounding message to President Obama to lift the sanctions.”
The two democracies have recently made significant strides in defence cooperation, and the NDAA amendment will provide a significant boost to a robust India-US defence partnership.
Khanna told ANI about it, saying, “Remember that it is more than just threatening sanctions. It emphasises the importance of strengthening our defence partnership with India.
The problem is that Russian weapons are currently less expensive. However, Russian weapons are also inferior, as evidenced by the conflict in Ukraine; the SU 57, in my opinion, simply cannot compete with the F 22 or F 35, or US military equipment.
It is in America’s interest to recruit brilliant engineers and scientists from India so that we can continue to lead the highest technology, and ultimately, it is in India’s interest to have an American technology that is superior to Russian technology.”
He stated that the US is working on developing a price point that will incentivize India to transition while protecting sensitive American technology, and that it will be negotiated through bilateral communication.
Khanna told ANI about the Chinese threat to India, which was highlighted in the amendment “You consider India to be one of the border threats. And you are aware that the United States has been the most important security guarantor.
The US helped India with those border skirmishes a few years ago. So, in my opinion, the US-India alliance is not only in the US’s interest, but also in India’s security interests, and the US will be a much more reliable and stronger partner.”