US likely to lift ban on ISRO, DRDO soon

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 14 (PTI) The US, which imposed curbson trade with defence entities like ISRO and DRDO followingIndia''s nuclear tests in 1998, has set in motion regulatorychanges to lift the ban soon, thus fulfilling a commitmentmade by President Barack Obama.

A formal notification to lift the ban by the USDepartment of Commerce for this purpose is in advanced stage,top US officials said.

"These regulatory changes will begin thetransformation of the bilateral export control policies torealise the full potential of the strategic partnershipbetween our two countries," Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretaryfor Industry and Security, US Department of Commerce, toldPTI.

But he did not give any time line for the removal ofrestrictions, which is eagerly awaited in India.

However, official sources said a formal notificationin this regard could well be issued before the scheduled Indiavisit of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke from February 6-11.

US imposed curbs on trade with these defence entitiesin the wake nuclear tests carried out by India in 1998.

"The Department of Commerce is working quickly topublish a regulation that will remove Indian space anddefence-related entities from the Entity List and enact otherIndia-specific export control changes," a senior US officialsaid.

They clarified these notifications would be Indiaspecific.

"We have a separate track on these issues inpartnership with India," another Administration official said.

"As you''ll recall, in New Delhi, the Presidenttogether with the Prime Minister announced a resolution ofunilateral export control issues and the President announcedhis support for India in multilateral fora. That has notchanged and we continue to move forward on those steps," theofficial said.

Obama, during his India visit, had assured India thathe would remove these companies from the entities list.

"Commensurate with India''s nonproliferation record andcommitment to abide by multilateral export control standards,the US will remove all civil space and defence-relatedentities from the Department of Commerce "Entity List."

"Inclusion on this list generally triggers an exportlicense requirement when exported," said a fact sheet issuedby the White House during the Obama visit.

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