Home Opinion Op-Ed US courts India while ditches Pakistan

US courts India while ditches Pakistan

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Beenish Altaf |

After amending its domestic laws, the US has now designated India to get into the list of its Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1). There was a tweet by Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Secretary that with this new status given to India the US companies and manufacturers seek to reap benefits by protecting the US national security concerns.

The decision of Trump Administration to grant Strategic Trade Authorization-1 status to India came in 2016 when the US announced India as its major defence partner. The step is taken quiet perilously by the US critics because this move will actually pave the way for India to get access to the high technology products. These high technology sales would include products in defence sector and civil space, particularly.

In the contemporary international security environment, the NSG membership debate has emerged as an urgent issue for the states in Asia. The significance of extending India’s stature in this regard is ironical, due to the fact that India is yet to gain the NSG membership.

Pakistan believes all states have the right to acquire and use advanced and dual-use technologies for socio-economic development under appropriate safeguards and without discrimination.”

However, the Indian aspiration of getting NGS membership could be benefitted by this step of the US. By tradition, the countries who are members of the four export control cartels namely Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and the NSG have been placed in the STA-1 list by the United States and at present India is the only country that does not fulfill this requirement and still manages to attain the STA-1 status.

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With regards to number, India is the third Asian country after Japan and South Korea, and the first South Asian country to get into STA-1 list. Overall, India lands 37th among the states that have been added to the list, unconditionally. Before India, 36 countries enjoyed this status, which are mostly the NATO countries as well. Previously, India was designated as STA-2 countries along with seven others.

Analytically narrating, the Western mixture of incentives tries to bring-in India into the NSG club, making it difficult for Pakistan’s candidature. If a fair criterion is adopted for membership of non-Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) states, the absconding credibility of the NSG would get a gasp. Paradoxically, the NSG plays an indispensable role that governs the set of provisions for both nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports. Gradually, the NSG makes sure that it keeps itself updated, effective and credible.

These high technology sales would include products in defence sector and civil space, particularly. In the contemporary international security environment, the NSG membership debate has emerged as an urgent issue for the states in Asia.

Currently, NSG confronts critical issues with regard to its long-lasting efforts for meeting the principles of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. However, an ironical incongruity is that the US and India have concluded a strategic partnership in economic, political and military domains. Also, the US is also encouraging the buildup of the Indian military and conniving nuclearization of the Indian Ocean. Since the US is having defense and nuclear cooperation deals with India, it has been the main force behind Delhi’s NSG bid here.

Pragmatically the US tilts towards India has actually marked a paradigm shift in the US non-proliferation policy due to its own strategic considerations. Such a major paradigm shift in the US policy is the manifestation of the ‘Realist Strategic Thinking’ in the US. The US ‘Realism’ is focused on ‘Countering China Policy’. Whereas, China’s active role in denying NSG membership to India is a ‘Chinese Realism’ in response to the ‘US Realism’ regarding strategic interests in the region.

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With regards to Pakistan’s reaction to the recent US decision waiving individual licensing requirements for export of high technology products to India, was quite sharp terming the move as the continuation of policies of discrimination. Mohammad Faisal, Foreign Office (FO) spokesman described it as “a disturbing continuation of policies of discrimination and exceptionalism, further eroding the longstanding non-proliferation norms. Pakistan believes all states have the right to acquire and use advanced and dual-use technologies for socio-economic development under appropriate safeguards and without discrimination.”

Like the 2005 Indo-US nuclear deal and the subsequent 2008 NSG waiver for India, the recent designation of India into the Strategic Trade Authorizaion-1 list, for that reason would have an adverse effect on the region in terms of destabilizing regional security and undermining the global non-proliferation regime. Last but not the least, the US decisions time-in and time-out with regards to India are a continuation of regional discrimination with disturbing strategic stability of South Asia. Such moves of the US would further erode the longstanding non-proliferation policies and norms.

The writer is Senior Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad and can be reached at beenishaltaf7@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


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