Outgoing United States President Barack Obama on Friday signed the National Defence Authorisation Act, 2017, which entails steps needed to recognise India as a “major defence partner” of US. It also sanctions a $618 billion (Rs 41 lakh crore approximately) US defence budget for 2017, reported PTI.
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain released a summary of the Bill that said “NDAA-2017 enhances security cooperation between the US and India”. According to the NDAA, the US administration will designate an individual who has credible experience in defence acquisition and technology to ensure the implementation of the US-India defence relationship and boost trade, security and cooperation between the two countries.
The NDAA has also allocated a $1.2 billion (Rs 8,000 crore approximately) fund to undertake operations against the Islamic State group. It has also imposed four conditions on Islamabad to be eligible for $400 million (Rs 2,661 crore approximately) out of the $900 million (Rs 5,987 crore approximately) coalition support fund.
Of the four conditions, Pakistan needs to conduct military operations against the Haqqani Network and take steps that show Islamabad is preventing militant groups from using its territory as a safe haven. “[The Bill] refocuses security assistance to Pakistan on activities that directly support US national security interests and conditions a significant portion of funding on a certification from the Secretary of Defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory,” read the summary.
Obama also criticised the Congress for not taking action to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”Keeping less than 60 men in an isolated detention facility in Cuba weakens our national security by draining resources, damages our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldens violent extremists,” he added.