US military forces Congress to back off on Lashkar-e-Taiba


The defence department argued that the US must stay focussed on the Haqqani Network, which has targeted Americans in Afghanistan, and must not distract attention towards other terrorist groups.

WORLD Updated: Nov 10, 2017 11:11 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

American lawmakers have decided not to press for tying certain financial aid for Pakistan to counter-terrorism measures against the Lashkar-e-Taiba, as was proposed by the Senate in an omnibus legislation it passed to fund the US military in 2018, because of resistance from the US defense department.

The provision was dropped from a legislation the two chambers agreed to on Wednesday through a process called conference — meant to reconcile differing versions of a bill passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation will now be put to a vote for passage, which is guaranteed in such circumstances.

India will be disappointed but it could take comfort from a section of the reconciled legislation that proposes to direct the executive branch to set up a formal structure to pursue relations with India under the new definition of “Major Defence Partner”.

The US declared India a Major Defence Partner, for the purpose of defence cooperation extending to trade, co-development and co-production of military equipment, in 2016, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Barack Obama. But it was left largely undefined.

A defence budget bill — the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) —codified it into law the same year, committing all succeeding presidencies to it, unless revoked. But it also did not specify how it will work. The 2018 bill directs the executive branch to finds ways to implement it.


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