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India asks US to ease high-tech export controls

world Updated: Mar 17, 2010 12:40 IST

IANS
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India has asked the United States to review and update its export controls to reflect the changed political realities of their emerging strategic partnership.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao raised the issue with the US Department of Commerce during a two day meeting in Washington of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG), a key component of India US Strategic Dialogue.

At this first meeting of the HTCG since President Barack Obama took over last, "the two sides were able to consolidate the progress made in the last five years and identified the next steps for further expanding high technology trade between India and the US," according to an Indian embassy release.

The identified steps were "especially in the areas of Defense and Strategic Trade, Biotechnology and Nano-technology," it said without spelling them out. "They also agreed to create new groups for focused attention on cooperation in Health IT and Civil Aviation."

The bilateral official talks of the HTCG, co-chaired by Rao and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Dennis F. Hightower Tuesday were informed by the recommendations made by industry representatives of both countries on promotion of high technology trade between India and the USA.

Officials did not say how the US responded to the Indian demand voiced publicly by Rao to ease US high technology restrictions applicable to India and remove Indian firms from the barred Entity list.

"We see this as yet another area where Indian and US interest converge and, as a reliable and strategic partner, we look forward to seeing enhancement of trade in such goods and technologies between our two countries and removal of remaining Indian organizations from the Entity List," she had said at the business-to-business session of the HTCG.

"It is anomalous that a body like ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which is developing several collaborations with (US space agency) NASA, should continue to be on this list," Rao pointed out.

"The total exports of Advanced Technology Products from the US to India has increased from $1.3 billion in 2003 to over $4 billion in 2009, a somewhat impressive increase, particularly against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown," she noted.

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