Andhra Pradesh

India-US relations: ‘a burgeoning partnership’

Positive development: Former Indian Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar speaking at GITAM deemed to be university .   | Photo Credit: arranged pic

The recent decision by the United States to upgrade India from Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)-2 to STA-1 category has come as a huge shot in the arm for ties between the two countries, said former Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia Ashok Sajjanhar.

He was delivering a lecture on ‘India-US Relations: Past, Present and Future’ on Monday at GITAM deemed to be university here, which was organised by GITAM School of International Business.

In STA-2, India was in the company of seven other countries including Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Albania. This implied that only a limited number of dual-use technologies could be imported by India. By its inclusion in STA-1, India could now import more than 90% dual use technologies, whose export was severely restricted by the USA and was permitted only to its NATO allies and some other trusted partners with robust export control systems, he said.

Mr. Ashok noted that inclusion in STA-1 met one of the original demands of India when it signed the US-India nuclear deal in 2008 to access sensitive technology from the USA.

37th member

“India becomes the 37th member of STA-1, which includes most members of NATO and it is the first country from South Asia and only the third country, after Japan and the Republic of Korea, from Asia,” he said.

Explaining the reason behind the induction, he said, a significant criterion that had been applied by the USA in inducting countries into this grouping was their membership of the four export control regimes viz. the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

NSG relaxation

“USA has considered India’s exemplary record in promoting global nuclear non-proliferation positively and decided to upgrade India to STA-1,” said Mr. Ashok.

The former Ambassador pointed out that by sidestepping the issue of India’s non-membership of NSG, the USA had opened the doors for India to import a range of state-of-the-art defence hardware and cutting edge technologies.

In addition to importing sensitive US dual-use items and technology, India would be able to manufacture these equipments domestically. “The decision sends out a strong political message and a robust signal to China and the whole international community,” pointed out Mr. Ashok.

Beneficial to US

The United States had acknowledged that India might not be a de-jure member of NSG, but de facto it observed all the provisions and regulations enshrined in the NSG. Significantly, the US did away with the public notification period before issuing this notification.

The decision would of course be beneficial to the United States. It would help the US companies to expand their exports of sensitive technologies to India. Products which in the past could have taken months to obtain clearances would now be available for export in a smooth manner without any delays, he observed.

According to him, the postponement of 2+2 dialogue between the two countries should not be viewed negatively.

“The waiver from the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for import of S-400 Missile Defence System by India from Russia is testimony that the US Administration, including President Trump as well as the US Congress, are mindful of India’s security needs and concerns. The same can be said about the positive signals that have been forthcoming from the US about providing a carve-out to India on the Chabahar project in Iran,” he said.

GITAM Chancellor Prof. K. Ramakrishna, V-C Prof. M.S. Prasada Rao and GSIB Dean Prof. K.K. Narayanan were present.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 11:43:45 AM |

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