India major defence partner: U.S.
- The US recognised India as a “major defence partner” in June 2016, which
means that for defence related trade and technology transfer the country
would now be treated at par with America’s closest allies.
- This status is bestowed upon the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries and the US treaty allies such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Philippines.
- The designation of this status is unique to India, a non-NATO ally of US.
- India’s Major Defence Partner status has been made a part of the India Amendment in the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), 2017 of US.
- It will facilitate US to transfer of advanced defence technology to India.
- It will also strengthen institutional effectiveness of US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTII) and the durability of the India Rapid Reaction Cell in Pentagon.
US House passes Bill for strengthening defence ties with India NOTES
- The US House of Representatives has passed a $621.5 billion defence policy bill that proposes to advance defence cooperation with India.
- An amendment in this regard was adopted by the House as part of the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018.
- NDAA-2018 asks the State Department and the Pentagon to develop a strategy that addresses common security challenges, the role of American partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative.
US rolls out expedited entry for ‘low-risk’ Indian travellers
- The US has started rolling out for India its Global Entry programme which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers.
- Global Entry Programme:
- On landing at select airports, the programme members enter the United States through automatic kiosks, instead of queueing up to clear the immigration by meeting an immigration officer.
- At these airports, the members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration.
- Travellers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry programme. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrolment.
- With this India has becomes only the 11th country whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative.
US- India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)
- A new representative body — US- India Strategic Partnership Forum
(USISPF) — is set up to further enhance business relations between the two countries.
- The non-profit corporation aims to promote bilateral trade and work on creating “meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens.
- The body will work closely together with businesses and government leaders to achieve its goals of driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship.
India, US establish new ministerial dialogue
- India and US have established new 2-by-2 ministerial dialogue to enhance strategic coordination between them and maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, once described by the US State Department as the “signature mechanism for advancing the United States’ and India’s shared priorities,” will now be replaced by the new dialogue.
- Composition: The new dialogue format will involve the External AffairsMinister and Defence Minister from India and their American counterparts NOTES Secretary of State and Defence Secretary.
- The shared priorities include job creation, improving the business and investment climate and sustaining a rules-based global order.
- The US has strategic consultations in this format with key partners and allies including Australia, Japan and the Philippines.
- India has had a dialogue in the two-plus-two format with Japan with secretaries or senior-most bureaucrats from the foreign and defence ministries engaging each other.
‘Merit-based’ immigration plan may benefit Indian professionals
- President Donald Trump has announced his support for the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act that would cut in half the number legal immigrants allowed into the US while moving to a
“merit-based” system favouring English-speaking skilled workers for residency cards.
- RAISE Act:
- The RAISE Act would scrap the current lottery system to get into the US and instead institute a points-based system for earning a green card. Factors that would be taken into account include English language skills, education, high- paying job offers and age.
- The RAISE Act ends chain migration, and replaces the low-skilled system with a new points-based system for receiving a Green Card.
- If passed by the Congress and signed into law, the legislation titled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act could benefit highly-educated and technology professionals from countries like India.