Washington: A strong US-India defense partnership grounded in shared democratic values is critical to advancing US interests in the Indo-Pacific, three American senators said in a law amendment calling on the Biden government to encourage New Delhi to accelerate the transition of Russia weapons.
Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate Committee on India, along with Senators Jack Reed and Jim Inhofe, say in the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that India faces immediate and serious regional border threats from China, with ongoing Chinese military aggression People along the Indo-Chinese border.
Relations between India and China have soured with the incursion of Chinese troops into eastern Ladakh in May 2020, leading to an ongoing military standoff that is still unresolved. India has made it clear to China that peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are key to the overall development of bilateral ties.
The United States should take additional steps to encourage India to accelerate its transition away from weapons and defense systems manufactured in the Russian Federation while strongly supporting India’s immediate defense needs, the amendment said.
India relies on Russian-made weapons for its national defense.
Russia was a major supplier of military hardware to India. In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to purchase five units of the S-400 air defense missile system, despite a US warning that continuing the deal would result in sanctions under the terms of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Russia began delivering the first regiment of missile systems in December last year and it has been deployed to cover parts of the northern sector border with China and the border with Pakistan.
A strong defense partnership between the United States and India, rooted in shared democratic values, is critical to advancing United States interests in the Indo-Pacific region, the amendment said.
Such a partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies is vital and should be further strengthened in response to increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific region to send an unequivocal signal that sovereignty and international law must be respected.
China, which has territorial disputes with many countries in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, has resisted US proactive policies specifically in the disputed South China Sea.
China claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim all parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. Beijing is also locked in a naval dispute with Japan over the East China Sea.
The amendment welcomes the US-India initiative on critical and emerging technologies, saying it is an essential step in developing closer partnerships between governments, academia and industry in the two countries to leverage the latest advances in artificial intelligence, Quantum, address computing, biotechnology, aerospace and semiconductor manufacturing.
Collaboration between engineers and computer scientists through the United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is vital to ensure that the United States, India and other democracies around the world foster innovation and enable technological advances that transform technology India continues to far outperform the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, said the proposed change.
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