Too early to gauge impact of removal from Entities` list: DRDO

Months after the US removed DRDO along with other Indian firms from its sanctions list, the defence company says US` decision will have the desired results only if it liberally issues licenses for the export of dual use items.

Last Updated: May 08, 2011, 15:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Months after the US removed DRDO
along with other Indian firms from its sanctions list, the
premier defence company says America`s decision will have the
desired results only if it liberally issues licenses for the
export of dual use items.

V K Saraswat, chief of Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) which bore the brunt of the sanctions for
decades, said he views positively the US step but feels it is
too early to guage its impact.

"On the face it, it (US decision) is a positive
indicator but I have often said that merely removal of our
firms from the Entities` list has done only one change that
our name has gone from the denial list to the acceptance
list," he said in an interview.

He was responding when asked to comment on the US
decision in January to remove nine Indian space and defence
related companies such as DRDO and ISRO from its `Entities
List` of sanctions which barred such firms from importing any
dual-use items from any American company.

The US step, Saraswat said, "should help to improve
obtaining hi-tech items by us from the US".

He, however, was guarded about the move translating into
action, saying it is too early to say or gauge its impact
because of the licencing process (in the US)."

The DRDO chief noted that the legal process in the US
mandated that any technology or item that has dual use cannot
be given without licences.

Observing that almost all the items required by the DRDO
are of dual-use nature, he said the US should be liberal in
delivering equipment and issuing licences when told that it
would not be used for manufacturing of weapons.

"When I say I am not using a particular item for weapons
of mass destruction or nuclear weapons, then they (the US)
should accept that and deliver that (item)," Saraswat said.

He explained that many of the items can be used in weapon
systems as well as extremely harmless substances like sporting
goods.

"Whether we use a computing or communication device or a
carbon-made tennis racket, they are all dual use items and
they all require licences," he said.

Commenting on the impact of nearly three decades of US
sanctions on DRDO, Saraswat said the organisation had
converted that "era of denial into opportunity" for creating
building blocks of world class technology and in the process
reducing dependence on imports.

"While it was a troublesome and painful process, we
converted it into an era of opportunity...Many of the
technologies that were denied to us, we converted that
sanctions era into opportunity," he said.

The DRDO chief said in 16 years between 1989 to 2005, the
country had started making electronic devices.

"We make our own microprocessors and many materials which
are used in missile development and our dependence of foreign
countries also went down and our self-reliance index has gone
up," he added.

PTI