India, Civil Space, and U.S. Export Controls

November 8, 2010 at 11:03 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

President is currently in India, and while there he announced that export controls would be slackened for India in the category of civil space and other new measures for civil space cooperation.



Today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama committed to work together to strengthen the global non-proliferation and export control framework and further transform our bilateral export control cooperation to realize the full potential of the strategic partnership between the two countries. The two leaders agreed to take mutual steps to implement a four-part export control reform program:

1. Membership in the Multilateral Export Control Regimes
The United States intends to support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes – the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group (for chemical and biological controls), and the Wassenaar Arrangement (for dual-use and conventional arms controls) – in a phased manner, and to consult with regime members to encourage the evolution of regime membership criteria, consistent with maintaining the core principles of these regimes.

The Government of India will take steps towards the full adoption of the regimes’ export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership, with both processes moving forward together.

In the view of the United States, India should qualify for membership in the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement according to existing requirements once it imposes export controls over all items on these regimes’ control lists.

2. Removal of India’s Defense and Space-Related Entities from the U.S. “Entity List” Commensurate with India’s nonproliferation record and commitment to abide by multilateral export control standards, the United States will remove all civil space and defense-related entities from the Department of Commerce “Entity List.” Inclusion on this list generally triggers an export license requirement for items that otherwise do not require an export license.

The entities to be removed are:
– Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL)
– The four remaining subordinates of the Defense Research and Development
Organization (DRDO):
o Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE)
o Defense Research and Development Lab (DRDL)
o Missile Research and Development Complex
o Solid State Physics Laboratory; and
– The four remaining subordinates of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO):
o Liquid Propulsion Systems Center,
o Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB),
o Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and
o Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

The removal of these Indian entities from the Entity List is expected to facilitate trade and cooperation in civil space and defense and enable the two governments to focus on addressing other outstanding barriers that hinder expanded bilateral high technology trade.

3. Export Licensing Policy Realignment
The United States will “realign” India in its dual-use export control regulations to reflect India’s status as a strategic partner, effectively treating India similarly to other close allies and partners. Although current dual-use export controls affect only a small fraction of U.S.-India trade (less than one percent), the perception of onerous U.S. export controls remains a barrier to high technology trade.

This realignment will remove India from categories within the dual use regulations that connote India as a “country of concern.” In return, India will harmonize its national control list with the multilateral regimes and incorporate re-export controls on certain U.S.-origin items to address the potential transshipment of these items.

4. Export Control Cooperation
The United States and India committed to a strengthened and expanded dialogue on export control issues, through fora such as the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group, on aspects of capacity building, sharing of best practices, and outreach with industry.

These changes, together with the comprehensive reform of the U.S. export control system launched by President Obama last year, will bring fundamental change to the U.S. export relationship with India, consistent with U.S. national security objectives. The announcement on export controls reaffirms the two leaders’ joint commitment to expanding the U.S.-India strategic partnership, strengthening global nonproliferation efforts, and facilitating trade in the civil space, defense, and high technology sectors.

From Fact Sheet on U.S.-India Space Cooperation:

Fact Sheet on U.S.-India Space Cooperation
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to scale up joint U.S.-India space collaboration for the benefit of humanity. They recognized a natural partnership exists between India’s dynamic human enterprise and the U.S. storied history of space exploration. In addition, they noted that their respective private sectors would be significant force multipliers in any effort to advance joint space exploration.

The leaders pledged to build closer ties in space exploration and earth observation through a Joint Civil Space Working Group meeting to be held in 2011. India and the United States will also focus on cooperation in the safety and security of outer space activities.

In addition to our rapidly expanding bilateral cooperation, the United States is encouraged by India’s increasingly active participation in multilateral fora on space cooperation, including the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO).
Space Exploration

o Noting the successful joint cooperation on Chandrayaan I, which detected the presence of water around the lunar pole, both sides committed to explore cooperation in planetary exploration and promote collaboration on future space missions.
o The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) welcomed the commitment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to continue preliminary discussion on Human Space Flight cooperation.
o NASA and ISRO continue to be important participants in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group that has developed a Global Exploration Strategy and has begun developing a Global Exploration Roadmap.

Earth Observation

o The United States and India both play a lead role in GEO and other forums focused on exchanging and utilizing satellite-based scientific data about the Earth, its climate, weather, and geophysical features to promote sustainable development worldwide.

o Both countries look forward to the bilateral expansion of cooperative satellite-based Earth observation efforts to support regional and global goals in a number of areas that include:

 A joint weather and climate forecasting project to predict the impacts of climate variability on agriculture;

 Validating and utilizing data from the ISRO Oceansat-2 mission, and similar activities for the upcoming Indian-French Megha-Tropiques mission, which will contribute to the international global precipitation monitoring constellation.

 Long-term cooperation between the U.S. Landsat and the Indian Resourcesat land imaging satellite programs. This will enable fostering improved land surface monitoring, land use management, ecosystems protection, and disaster mitigation and response.
Science Education

o The U.S. welcomed India’s active participation in the NASA-led Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) education program, which promotes the teaching and learning of science and enhancement of environmental literacy and stewardship. Nearly 1,000 Indian schools have enrolled in the GLOBE program since India joined in 2000.

From the Remarks by the President to the Joint Session of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, India:

We need to forge partnerships in high-tech sectors like defense and civil space. So we’ve removed Indian organizations from our so-called “entity list.” And we’ll work to remove — and reform our controls on exports. Both of these steps will ensure that Indian companies seeking high-tech trade and technologies from America are treated the same as our very closest allies and partners.

And, finally, from the Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in Joint Press Conference in New Delhi, India:

. . . We welcome the decision by the United States to lift control from exports of high-technology items and the technologies to India, and support India’s membership in multilateral export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This is a manifestation of the growing trust and confidence in each other.

We have agreed on steps to expand our cooperation in space, civil nuclear defense and other high-end sectors. We have announced specific initiatives in the areas of clean energy, health and agriculture. These include a joint clean energy research and development center, the establishment of a global disease detection center in India, and an agreement for cooperation in weather and crop forecasting. . . .

. . . We agreed to reform our controls on exports, and the United States will remove Indian organizations from the so-called “entity list,” which will allow greater cooperation in a range of high-tech sectors like civil space and defense. And we agreed to keep working to reduce trade barriers and resist protectionism. . . .

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