US removes ISRO and DRDO from entities list

 
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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 25 (PTI) Meeting the long pending Indiandemand, the Obama Administration on the eve of India''sRepublic Day removed from its entities as many as nine Indiaspace and defense related companies including those from theIndian Space Research Organization and Defense Research andDevelopment Organization.

"Today''s action marks a significant milestone inreinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and movingforward with export control reforms that will facilitate hightechnology trade and cooperation," Commerce Secretary GaryLocke said after a federal notification was issued in thefederal registry.

The notification comes week ahead of the high-profilevisit of a US trade delegation led by Locke to New Delhi,Bangalore and Mumbai. This is the first step to implement theexport control policy initiative announced by US PresidentBarack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh onNovember 8, 2010.

The entities being removed are: Bharat Dynamics Ltd(BDL), the four remaining subordinates of the Defense Researchand Development Organization (DRDO): Armament Research andDevelopment Establishment (ARDE), Defense Research andDevelopment Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and DevelopmentComplex; Solid State Physics Laboratory; and the fourremaining subordinates of the Indian Space ResearchOrganization (ISRO): Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, SolidPropellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota SpaceCenter (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

Removal from the Entity List eliminates a licenserequirement specific to the companies, and results in theremoved companies being treated the same way as any otherdestination in India for export licensing purposes, theCommerce Department said in a statement.

The notification removes India from several countrygroups in the Export Administration Regulations resulting inthe removal of export license requirements that were tied toIndia''s placement in those country groups.

It further adds India to a country group in the EAR thatconsists of members of the Missile Technology Control Regime,to recognize and communicate India''s adherence to the regime,the US-India strategic partnership, and India''s globalnon-proliferation standing.

"These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work withIndia on our mutual goal of strengthening the globalnon-proliferation framework," said Under Secretary of CommerceEric L Hirschhorn.

Obama during his India visit had assured India that hewould remove these companies from the entities list.

"Commensurate with India�s nonproliferation record andcommitment to abide by multilateral export control standards,the United States will remove all civil space anddefense-related entities from the Department of Commerce"Entity List."

Inclusion on this list generally triggers an exportlicense requirement for items that otherwise do not require anexport license," said a fact sheet issued by the White Houseduring the Obama visit.

In February, Secretary Locke will lead 24 US businesseson a high-tech trade mission to India. The delegation, whichalso includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank(EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will makestops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

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