US sends strong message to China, confers India with STA-1 status, first South-Asian country to get coveted designation

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India has become the first South-Asian country and the third Asian nation after Japan and South Korea to be conferred with the Strategic Trade Authorisation (STA-1) status after the United States issued a federal notification paving the way for the sales of high-technology products particularly in fields of civil space and defence sectors.

India is the 37th country to be designated the STA-1 status by the United States.

The new federal notification also relaxes America’s export control norms with regard to India, befitting India’s status as a ‘Major Defence Partner’.

The notification gains significance as the Trump Administration made an exception for India, which is yet to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Traditionally, the US has placed only those countries in the STA-1 list who are members of the four export control regimes: Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), Australia Group (AG) and the NSG.

In its federal notification, the Trump Administration notes that India is a member of three of the four multilateral export regimes.

Mainly because of the political opposition from China, India’s membership application has been pending before NSG, which takes decision by consensus.

By placing India in the STA-1 list, the United States has acknowledged that for all practical purposes India adheres to the export control regimes of the NSG.

This exception for New Delhi is intended to send a strong political message to China and the world, taking into account that America’s closest ally Israel is yet to be given this status, primarily because it is not a member of these multilateral export control regimes.
“This action befits India’s status as a Major Defence Partner and recognises” the country’s membership in three of the four export control regimes — the MTCR, WA and AG, the federal notification said.

This rule is another in the series of rules that implement reforms to which the US and India mutually agreed to promote global non-proliferation, expand high technology cooperation and trade, and ultimately facilitate India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes.

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