India-US Relations Burgeoning as US Upgrades India to STA-1 Category

India-US Relations are evolving fast and this has raised concern in India’s neighbourhood. The United States recently upgraded India from Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)-2 to STA-1 category. The move has come as a huge turn in the arm for relations between the two countries. With STA-2, India has joined in the company of many other countries including Israel, Japan and South Korea.

This intimated that only a restricted number of dual-use technologies could be imported by India. By its inclusion in STA-1, India could now import more than 90 per cent dual-use technologies, whose export was severely limited by the USA and was sanctioned only to its NATO associates and some other trusted partners with robust export control systems, he said.

India Becomes the 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.

Explaining the reason behind the induction, the experts stated that a significant model that had been applied by the USA in inducting nations 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 experts.

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

In addition to importing delicate US dual-use items and technology, India would be able to manufacture this equipment domestically. “The decision sends out a strong political message and a robust signal to China and the whole international community.

Beneficial to the US

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

The decision would, of course, be useful to the US. It would help its companies to expand their exports of sensitive technologies to India. Products, which in the past could have taken months to receive clearances, would now be available for export in a stable manner without any setbacks, he observed.

“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.

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