‘India finds an ally in USA’, ‘fostering of new friendship between India and USA’ such headlines adorned every media channel, newspaper and website during the past week. If you believed in any such headline, then it’s time to change your beliefs.
Prime Minister Modi on his latest visit to Washington D.C. got the rare opportunity to address the US Congress, a chance not many Indian leaders have had. He was invited to Capitol Hill by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who in April described U.S.-India ties as “a pillar of strength in an important region of the world.”
His speech was awe-inspiring and he received a standing ovation not once but eight times. Prior to the speech, the Prime Minister and President made a joint statement which elaborated the deals which would be signed between the two countries.
Prime Minister Modi was able to get USA’s support on various important issues such as the NSG membership. Obama himself stated that India is a rising force and friendship with India will be beneficial to both the countries.
Fast forward to this week, Republican Senator, McCain introduced the Amendment Bill in the Senate. On Tuesday, the Senate rejected the amendment to recognize India as a “global strategic and defence partner”. The act, if passed, would have helped India acquire advanced military technology, participate in combined military planning, and be treated like the “closest defence partner” of the US.
The amendment was necessary to modify USA’s export control regulations. Although the Senate passed the NDAA (National Defence Authorization Act) with a clear 85-13 majority, amendment SA 4618, which dealt with India, did not get enough votes.
McCain expressed his disappointment on the failure of the passage of the bill saying he could not understand why the Senate failed to reach a definite decision.
While many see it as nothing but USA’s domestic politics there are some who believe that there is more to it than meets the eye. The rejection of the amendment shows that irrespective of what is said about friendship and partnership between the two nations, USA’s decisions will always be dependent on international and domestic politics.
This rejection has emboldened Pakistan and other critics of India. It is hard to say how far-reaching consequences this rejection will have but it surely a setback India needs to consider. While no Indian politician has commented on it yet, we hope this does not damage Indian relations with the USA and such setbacks do not occur again anytime soon.
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