US President Barack Obama has signed into law the USD 618 billion defence budget for 2017, which enhances security cooperation with India and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.
Currently vacationing in Hawaii, Obama yesterday signed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017, which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s “major defence partner”
Early this year, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to give a similar certification to Pakistan due to which it was not given USD 300 million under coalition support fund.
In his signing statement, Obama did not mention to any of theseprovisions of the bill, but he did expressed disappointment over certain other provisions in NDAA-2017.
He said: “I remain deeply concerned about the Congress’s use of the National Defence Authorisation Act to impose extensive organisational changes on the Department of Defence, disregarding the advice of the Department’s senior civilian and uniformed leaders.
“The extensive changes in the bill are rushed, the consequences poorly understood, and they come at a particularly inappropriate time as we undertake a transition between administrations. These changes not only impose additional administrative burdens on the Department of Defence and make it less agile, but they also create additional bureaucracies and operational restrictions that generate inefficiencies at a time when we need to be more efficient.”