US to support India for NSG, to clear banned Indian entities (Lead)

November 6th, 2010 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Nov 6 (IANS) In a move that will be welcomed in India, US President Barack Obama Saturday said the US will work to reform export laws as Washington readies to express “in-principle” support to New Delhi’s membership of elite nuclear clubs like the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“We are reforming export control system, so even as we strengthen our national security, we will make sure that restrictions don’t stand in the way of high-tech trade between our countries,”

“Today I am pleased to announce that we will work with India to to fundamentally reform our control on exports which will allow greater cooperation in the range of high-tech sectors and strengthen our non-proliferation efforts,” Obama said while addressing corporate honchos in Mumbai on the first day of his four-day visit to India.

The US is set to remove three banned Indian entities from its Entities List, freeing them to export sensitive technologies, informed sources said. They include: Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Indian Space Research (ISR0) and the Hyderabad-headquartered Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

This could be reflected in the joint statement India and the US are expected to come out after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama Monday.

“….the United States will support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. These are the Nuclear Suppliers Group; what’s called the MTCR regime — the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Australian Group; and the Wassanaar Arrangement,” said Mike Froman, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, in a statement.

He was referring to top nuclear non-proliferation multilateral regimes that control global trade in dual-use and sensitive technologies.
The Australia Group deals with chemical and biological weapons, and Wassenaar deals with conventional weapons and dual use technology in it.

Froman stressed that India’s membership of these nuclear regimes “will come in a phased manner.”

“And we will consult with our regime members to encourage the evolution of a membership criteria of these regimes consistent with maintaining their core principles. So as the membership criteria of these four regimes evolves, we intend to support India’s full membership in them,” he said.

“And at the same time, India will take steps to fully adopt the regime’s export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership,” Forman said.

“The second element of the export control reform package being announced is that we will remove India’s defense and space-related entities from the U.S. entity list. The entity list at one point had, I believe, 220 Indian entities on it. And there are only four left. And today we will be announcing a removal of three of them,” the US statement says.

India is “reasonably optimistic” about the relaxation of US high-tech exports and the US’ support for joining exclusive nuclear clubs.

‘The discussions have covered considerable ground. We are reasonably optimistic about the outcome,’ Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters two days ago.

With an eye on joining groups like the NSG, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon this week underlined New Delhi’s strong commitment to non-proliferation, an issue that will figure in discussions between leaders of the two countries next week.

Speaking at the US-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit in Mumbai, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced he will lead a high-tech trade mission to India.

The February 6-11, 2011 business development mission will promote the export of high-technology products from leading US firms and visits New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

“Exports are leading the US economic recovery, spurring future economic growth and creating jobs in America,” Locke said.

The trade mission is expected to promote export opportunities for US businesses in a wide swathe of advanced industrial sectors, including civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communication.

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