US elevates India’s defence trade status to Nato-level allies, Delhi welcomes movehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/us-india-defence-trade-status-to-nato-level-5284516/

US elevates India’s defence trade status to Nato-level allies, Delhi welcomes move

The Trump administration announced on Monday granting India the status of Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country, the only South Asian nation to be given the designation along with the US' NATO allies like South Korea, Australia and Japan.

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Indian PM Narendra Modi (left) and US President Donald Trump. Till recently India was designated as STA-2 countries, along with seven others. (File)

India on Tuesday welcomed the US’ decision to ease export controls for high technology product sales to it, saying the move will further boost collaboration between the two countries in defence and certain other areas. The Trump administration announced on Monday granting India the status of Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country, the only South Asian nation to be given the designation along with the US’ NATO allies like South Korea, Australia and Japan.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar called Washington’s decision a logical culmination to India’s designation as a major defence partner of the US and a “reaffirmation” of its “impeccable record” as a responsible member of the concerned multilateral export control regimes. The STA-1 status will help India in getting critical technology from the US in the defence and certain other key areas.

“We welcome the announcement made by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the Indo-Pacific Business Forum on July 30 about the US government’s decision to move India into Tier-1 of the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Trade Authorisation license exception,” Kumar said.

He said the step will further facilitate India-US trade and technology collaboration in defence and high technology areas adding,”We look forward to the US side operationalising the decision at an early date.” In June 2016, the US had designated India as “Major Defence Partner” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

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Announcing the decision to grant India STA-1 status, Ross on Monday said it was “a very important change” in India’s status in the export control regime. The designation authorises the export, re-export and transfer (in-country) of specified items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to destinations posing a low risk of unauthorised or impermissible uses.

Currently there are 36 countries on the STA-1 list. Till recently India was designated as STA-2 countries, along with seven others. The STA-1 status, Ross said, provides India with greater supply chain conditions for defence and other high-tech products. The decision by the US comes over a month before the talks between India’s foreign and defence ministers with their US counterparts here under the framework of the ‘2+2’ dialogue.