US Upgrades Trading Term With India To Boost Sale Of High-Tech Defence Products

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Washington: The United States on Monday elevated India’s status as a trading partner to equal that it has accorded largely to its Nato allies, mostly for the purposes of speeding up the sale of high-tech defence and non-defence products that are otherwise subjected to strict controls and licensing.

“We have granted to India Strategic Trade Authorization status STA-1 that’s (a) very important status under our export control regime and acknowledges US-India security and economic relationship,” said US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

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The move, which will reduce the number of licences needed for US exports to India, means India can get easy access to the latest defence technologies.
It could also mean a leg-up for the foundational COMCASA agreement which the US is keen to get India to sign, analysts say.

The Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement is one of the three agreements that the US has with its closest military allies, and will allow the installation of high-security US communication equipment on defence equipment being sold to India, thereby , the US argument goes, facilitating interoperability. India has concerns on giving the US access to sensitive military communication if it signs the agreement.

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