Washington: Heeding Indian sensitivities, the Obama Administration has removed as many as nine Indian space and defence related organisations from its Entity List, including subordinate organisations of the high profile Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
"Today's action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation," commerce secretary Gary Locke said after a federal notification was issued in the federal registry.
Significantly, the notification comes just a week ahead of a high-profile visit by a US trade delegation led by secretary Locke to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The visit follows up on initiatives announced by US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on 8 November 2010 in the course of the American president Obama's state visit to India.
The Indian companies removed from the Entity List are: Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the four subordinates of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) viz., Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defence Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex; Solid State Physics Laboratory; and four subordinates of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) viz., Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota Space Centre (SHAR) and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
Removal from the Entity List eliminates a license requirement specific to the companies, and results in the removed companies being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes, the Commerce Department said in a statement.
The notification removes India from several country groups in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) resulting in the removal of specific export license requirements that result from being placed in such groups.