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US monitoring India's technology exports
A decision by the Bush administration to sanction two top Indian scientists for nuclear cooperation with Iran highlighted the risks of improving US relations with the South Asian power.

Scientists Y.S.R. Prasad and C. Surendar -- both former chiefs of the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India -- were cited last week with 12 other firms, including seven from China, for violating the Iran Non-proliferation Act of 2000.

India protested and asked Washington to withdraw the sanctions, which bar the men from doing business with the US government.

Washington is improving its ties with the world's largest democracy, attracted by its booming technology expertise and its commercial market but India's nuclear weapons capability and ties to Tehran are a serious concern.

The United States is monitoring New Delhi's technology exports "very aggressively (and) we have raised these concerns at very senior levels with the Indians every time we meet with them," a senior US official told Reuters.

The State Department did not detail the specific offenses by the two scientists but officials said it involved assistance to Iran's nuclear program during the first half of 2003.

Analyst Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the sanctions may relate to India's breakthrough development of an economic way to produce tritium, a radioactive isotope used in nuclear bombs.

The United States and other countries accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear energy program as a cover to develop atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

LIFTING RESTRICTIONS

Complicating the issue with India is the fact that the administration only last month lifted decades-old US export restrictions on equipment for New Delhi's commercial space program and nuclear power facilities.

"It's an odd time to be lifting those restrictions" when the administration is concerned enough about India's cooperation with Iran to impose new sanctions, said Sokolski of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Centre.

The new sanctions are consistent with Undersecretary of State John Bolton's determination to enforce non-proliferation laws, even if it upsets countries where the United States is pursuing better ties. Bolton oversees non-proliferation policy.

US officials said the Indian cases were discussed with the government in New Delhi in advance and sanctions imposed only after New Delhi failed to take action.

The administration waived sanctions on Indian companies "four or five times in the last couple of years" but if the government did not take concrete action to redress the situation sanctions could not be waived, one official said.

Another official stressed that the two scientists, not the Indian government, were sanctioned, and New Delhi "needs to do some punishing of people like this itself and prevent these things from happening."

Sokolski sees India competing for influence in Iran against nuclear rival Pakistan, whose top scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan ran a black market that sold atomic technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea before being stopped by Islamabad at US prodding.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:05 AM

 

 
The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

Thank you, Nik Khanna & Jango Unwalla

 
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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
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Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at topcover.com
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