ISLAMABAD: Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) warned of implications of Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) status given to India by the United States (US) saying Washington is undermining regional stability and the global non-proliferation regime by doing so.
In a statement issued on the eve of the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Islamabad, SVI said that “US tilt towards India for its geopolitical goals, including containment of China, marked a paradigm shift in the American non-proliferation policy”.
US Department of Commerce had on July 30 granted STA-1 status to India. This allows license exceptions for export of certain critical dual-use defence-related and military technologies to India from the US. The US move had preceded the initiation of India-US 2+2 dialogue involving their foreign and defence ministers for which Secretary Pompeo will visit Delhi after completing his Islamabad trip.
President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema recalled that this status is normally granted by the US to a country, which is a member of all four export control regimes – Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Trump Administration, he noted, again made an exception for India by giving the status to it although it is still not a member of NSG.
The US, it should be recalled, had backed India’s entry into Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime and had helped it earn a waiver from NSG in 2008. India’s membership of NSG has been held up because of differences among the members over admission
criteria for non-NPT states. Cautioning about the implications of STA-1 status, Dr Cheema said it would accelerate the sale of critical equipment that can be used for military purposes particularly Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, an armed version of Guardian Drones, and NASAMS-II, which is a multi-tiered air defence network featuring 3D mobile surveillance radars and missile launchers. He maintained that India would be able to get communications and security equipment circumventing COMCASA – a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India – over which India had reservations.