Tuesday, January 25, 2011

US lifts defence sanctions on India: America to benefit from the move in the long run

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 25: The US government's decision to lift "sanctions" on Indian defence units will ultimately help the United States, though India gets benefited initially.

The US government lifted its "sanctions" or export curbs on DRDO and ISRO units, which it had imposed in 1998 soon after the Pokhran nuclear tests. The US had earlier eased sanctions against some of the firms, but continued with the curbs on key units. It has now lifted these curbs too.

According to Defence sources, the lifting of curbs or the unilateral sanctions will benefit Indian firms and boost the R & D work including new and existing Space and Defence projects. But it will also boost business opportunities for US firms in the longer run. Incidentally, US sees a flourishing Space and Defence market in India since it is fast developing indigenous technologies in both the areas.

The Indian firms that are now free to import and export equipment and spare parts to the US include Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), which makes India's missiles and munitions; four subsidiaries of DRDO (Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defense Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex; and Solid State Physics Laboratory); and four subsidiaries of ISRO (Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC), Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB),
Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

Though US authorities did not use the terms "sanctions" Indian firms were denied supply of equipment and spares during the last 13 years. India had to develop many spareparts and equipment using the indigenous technology.

ISRO has been urging the US to lift curbs on Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre,  Satish Dhawan Space Centre, and Liquid Propulsion Centre. Three other ISRO units were removed from the "embargo list" four years ago. ISRO had been hopeful of lifting of sanctions since it had collaborated with NASA on the Chandrayaan-1 mission. The collaboration led to the discovery of water molecules on the moon.

The US decision is being seen as a "strategic move" to allow US companies to trade with the Indian organisations. Incidentally, India has proposed FDI in defence sector and the US thought that it was the opportune time to ease trade restrictions with India for bilateral benefit.

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