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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 13:47 GMT
US drops Indian tech sanctions
F-16 fighter
The US wants India to rearm with F-16 jet fighters
The US has relaxed sanctions preventing the export of dual-use technology - equipment that can be used for both civilian and military purposes - to India.

The new trade rules means that India will be able to again buy weapons systems from the US without fear that the purchase of spare parts would be blocked.

The US is currently lobbying India to buy F-16 fighter planes, C-130 transports and jet trainers from the Czech Republic in which Boeing has a stake.

"The governments of (the) United States and India recognise the untapped US-India high-technology commerce, the need to address economic and systemic issues inhibiting such trade," the statement said.

The announcement comes as the US threatens other states who are developing their weapons capabilities.

Similar sanctions against Pakistan, which has been accused of selling nuclear technology to North Korea, were lifted in 2001.

The agreement "also recognises both governments' commitment to preventing the proliferation of sensitive good and technologies, and notes the need to facilitate high-technology trade consistent with laws and national security and foreign policy objectives," the US statement said.

Big sales boom

The sale of such equipment to India had been illegal since it carried out tit-for-tat nuclear weapons tests with Pakistan in 1998.

They were partially lifted when India signed up to the US-led "coalition against terrorism" in 2001.

"We see this agreement as a hallmark of the transformation of US-India relations over the past two years," US embassy spokesman Gordon Duguid said.

Last April India has signed its first major arms deal with the US in more than four decades, agreeing to buy eight Raytheon radar systems.

The new trade rules were signed in Washington on Wednesday according to a statement by the US embassy in New Delhi.

The restrictions will stay in place against 13 Indian firms the US claims were involved in the countries nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programmes.

See also:

03 Feb 03 | South Asia
18 Apr 02 | Business
23 Sep 01 | Americas
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