BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 17:45 GMT
UK lobbies US on India sanctions
Seaking helicoter
India needs new parts for Seaking helicopters
By South Asia analyst Alastair Lawson

United Kingdom Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has said his department is lobbying Washington to ease US sanctions on arms sales to India.

These were imposed against Delhi after it conducted a series of nuclear weapons tests in 1998.

Mr Hoon had just completed a two-day tour of India, which paved the way for London to sell Delhi a multi-million dollar consignment of Hawk military jets.

There has been speculation in the press that the deal on the military jets was linked to London's lobbying on behalf of India.

But diplomats argue that bilateral relations between Delhi and London are very warm anyway.


Mr Hoon said shortly before his departure from India to Nepal that his department would vigorously persuade the United States to relax an embargo, which prevented Delhi from receiving spare parts for its fleet of Sea King helicopters.

Geoff Hoon (L) and George Fernandes (R)
Geoff Hoon meets Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes
Although the helicopters are British made, spare parts for them can only be obtained from the US.

Officials say that the matter is now before the American Congress, and that authorisation for the release of the parts is expected to be made soon after the new US president is sworn in.

Closer ties

British officials say that they are eager to develop closer defence ties with India, especially as Delhi is now modernising its armed forces.

Last year it is estimated that Britain sold around US$100 million worth of arms to India.

Unlike Washington, London did not impose an arms embargo against India or Pakistan after the two countries carried out nuclear tests.

Britain did impose a ban on Pakistan after General Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1998, but that was lifted by the British foreign office earlier this year.

Campaigners opposed to the arms trade have accused the government of being irresponsible in selling arms to either country, especially when both have nuclear weapons and tension remains high over the Kashmir question.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

08 Dec 00 | South Asia
Plea to India over jailed Briton
14 Jun 00 | South Asia
India seeks stronger UK defence ties
13 Jun 00 | South Asia
Indian defence minister in Britain
29 Feb 00 | South Asia
India's growing defence costs
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories