Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

India to get access to 99% of American defence technologies: US official

India being recognized as a major defence partner puts it on par with the treaty allies of the US, says a senior US government official

Washington: India will be the only country outside the formal treaty allies of the US that will gain access to almost 99% of latest America’s defence technologies after being recognised as a major defence partner, a senior US government official has said.

“India (now) enjoys access to (defence) technologies that is on par with our treaty allies. That is a very unique status. India is the only other country that enjoys that status outside our formal treaty allies," the official told PTI explaining what major defence partner status means for India.

Earlier this month, after a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, the US, in a joint statement, recognized India as a major defence partner.

“We were looking for something unique. This language you would not find in any arms transfer legislation or any of our existing policies. This is new guidance and new language that is intended to reflect the unique things that we have done with India under our defence partnership," the official said.

“This is intended to solidify the India-specific forward leaning policies for approval that the (US) president and (defence) secretary (Ashton) Carter... and our export control system have implemented in the last eight years," the official said.

Under this recognition India would receive licence-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that New Delhi has committed to take to advance its export control objectives.

Acknowledging that the impression in New Delhi is that India is not getting access to the kind of technology it needs from the US, the official said it is a constant source of discussion.

“(In reality), less than 1% of all exports (requests) are denied (to India). They are not denied because of India. They are denied because of global US licensing policies. We do not share certain technologies with anybody in the world," the official said.

The perception in India that the denial of such technologies is reflective of India-US relationship is far from the truth, the official said.

According to the official, India being recognized as a “major defence partner puts it on par with our treaty allies". Inside the American bureaucratic system, such a recognition removes a number of major export control hurdles for India.