Differences over dual use technology being sorted out: Obama

Differences over dual use technology being sorted out: Obama

Indicating a possible end to the longstanding denial of sophisticated dual use technology to India, President Barack Obama has said that the US Defence Department was working to sort it out.

Barack Obama. File PhotoHe maintained that such technology, involving items which have civil and military use, was being given to India and that Pentagon "is working to address those occasional cases where we do not".

Acknowledging that there were "benefits" of providing such technology to New Delhi, Obama told PTI in an interview, "Given all the interests and values we share, I'm confident that we can continue to work through any differences."

Obama's assurance comes in the backdrop of bickering between the two countries over dual use technology which has been denied to India for decades, particularly after it was put on the so-called entities list.

Denial of such technology has hit India's defence and space programmes amid fears in certain circles in the US that the sophisticated technology may be misused for military purposes, particularly nuclear weapons programme.

After Obama's India visit in 2010 the US government had announced the removal of 9 Indian space and defence-related organisations from the entities list.

However, the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) V K Saraswat went public recently with the complaint that though the embargo had been lifted nothing had changed "in practice". There had not not been even a 10 per cent implementation.

Obama pledged support to India's membership in regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and said that the US will work with the Indian government to address international concerns about its nuclear liability law.

The President's reference was to the 2010 Indian law which fixes a liability of Rs.1,500
crore on a nuclear plant operator in case of an accident.

There have been demands by the Opposition in India that the liability should be on the foreign equipment suppliers which has raised concerns abroad. The law is yet to be implemented as the rules under it are being considered by a Parliamentary Committee.

Stating that he was pleased that US companies recently made progress towards beginning construction of new reactors in India, he said "...as India continues to bring its export control requirements in line with international norms, the US continues to support Indian membership of regimes such as the NSG."

Obama acknowledged that progress in implementing the 2005 Indo-US nuclear agreement has "not not come fast enough".

Describing the nuclear deal as the "cornerstone" of broader economic cooperation, the President said, "Obviously, progress in implementing the agreement has not not come as fast as either of our countries would have liked. But I am absolutely committed to the agreement's full implementation."

Answering a question on the relationship with India, which he had described as a "defining partnership of the 21st century", Obama said, "Yes, it is true that in some areas we would have liked to see more momentum".

"Still, I'm proud of the progress we have made, and I think the relationship between the US and India "is stronger, broader and deeper that it has ever been".

Noting that no no relationship between nations was without its challenges, to which Indo-US relationship was no no exception, Obama said the common interests have allowed the two countries to keep moving forward

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