The US has designated India as a Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 country, thereby easing restrictions on export of high-technology products to India.
The revised status is the same as the one accorded by the US to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
“STA-1 provides India greater supply chain efficiency, both for defence and for other high-tech products. This is a very important change in India’s status in the export control regime,” a Reuters report quoted US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as saying.
Ross said that the sale of goods worth $9.7 billion, which India could have imported from the US over the last seven years, were affected as a result of the lack of elevated status.
What it means for India
This move will significantly influence the India-US bilateral defence trade relationship and will allow India to purchase more advanced and sensitive technologies from the US, just like other NATO countries do.
The designation also authorises export and re-export of certain specified items.
By the looks of it, the US is trying to improve its export-control regime and has identified India as a defence partner because of its growing status.
The Ministry of External Affairs welcomed the move, saying it will boost India-US ties.
“It is a logical culmination to India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner of the US and a reaffirmation of India’s impeccable record as a responsible member of the concerned multilateral export control regimes,” the MCA said in a statement.
“This will encourage technology collaboration in defence and high technology areas with the US. We look forward to the US side operationalising the decision at an early date,” the ministry said.
Of the 36 countries given the STA1 status, most of which are NATO countries, India is the South Asian country on the list. Other Asian countries with the same status are Japan and South Korea.
The US’ decision comes just weeks before high-level talks between the two countries are scheduled to take place on September 6.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will host US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis for a dialogue.