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Way "open" for U.S. payloads on Indian lunar mission

Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The way is "open" for the Indian lunar mission, Chandrayaan, to carry American payloads, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said at a joint press interaction with U.S. Under Secretary for Commerce David McCormick on Thursday.

Mr. Saran said the draft of a technology safeguards agreement for an eventual Indo-U.S. space launch accord had been exchanged.

According to him, there was a need to move faster to conclude this agreement.

In response to a question, the Foreign Secretary said that some Indian companies had been removed from the U.S. entities list, but some others remained. (The Sriharikota Space Centre and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, remain on the U.S. entities list as Indian Space Research Organisation "subordinates").

On defence "offsets" (agreements that require a supplier to direct some benefits — usually work or technology — back to the purchaser as a condition of the sale), Mr. Saran said India and the U.S. needed to look at "best practices" in this area. There were prospects for "joint collaboration" in the defence sector, he said.

Result-oriented

A joint statement issued at the end of the High-Technology Cooperation Group said that India and the U.S. had agreed to make the HTCG more "results-oriented", expand public-private ownership, make licensing more efficient, transparent and efficient for India and focus on key trade sectors affected by both tariff and non-tariff barriers.