India's quest for double use technology


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
India's quest for double use technology

n 2008, when former Indian President Abdul Kalam
was asked by a student why a peace-loving person such as
himself tasked his country’s scientists and engineers to build
missiles, Kalam replied, “In the 3,000-year history of India,
barring 600 years, the country has been ruled by others. If you
need development, the country should witness peace, and peace
is ensured by strength. Missiles were developed to strengthen the
country.”1 The founding father of India’s missile defense program, a
lead architect of its nuclear and space programs, and the author of
India Vision 2020—a plan meant to usher India into a new technology
age—Kalam appears frequently in any examination of India’s
technology renaissance. An ardent proponent of the military and
scientific communities, he doesn’t hesitate to talk about dual-use
technology. In India Vision 2020, Kalam claimed, “Newly emerging
technologies such as robotics or artificial intelligence . . . would
have a crucial impact on future defense operations and also on
many industrial sectors.”2 There is no doubt that Kalam envisioned
long ago what other Indian experts are only beginning to see: Dualuse
emerging technologies—space-, missile-, and nanotechnology—
would one day become a main driver of military technology
for the leading spacefaring nations (e.g., India, the United States,
Russia, and China) and that such dual-use technologies would provide
the building blocks for larger, more destructive systems.
For its part, the international arms control community only recently
began to understand the unprecedented dilemma in the overlap between peaceful commercial technologies and tools of warfare
developed through multi-tiered international partnerships. Thus,
concerned citizens and policy makers now find themselves unable
to object to space technologies that could enable destructive acts of
war since objecting to such technologies would be, in many cases,
to disagree with the development of technologies that also could
benefit humankind. The situation is made worse by countries that
facilitate dual-use technology transfers for strategic and economic
benefits while ignoring a partner nation’s proclivity toward sharing
such technologies with questionable nations.
In fact, until about a decade ago, India had been considered by
the United States to be a major contributor to missile technology
proliferation and an unwavering opponent of nearly every
major arms control treaty. But after 9/11 this view changed quickly
in Washington. As “security” became a subjective term, India
promptly learned to take advantage of the U.S. search for Asian
allies. At the same time, the country’s scientists and military officials
stirred domestic and international fears of regional terrorism
and Chinese hostilities so they could turn initially peaceful technology
transfers between New Delhi and Washington into military
research and development efforts. As the U.S.-India relationship
grew stronger, New Delhi began to acquire even more advanced
knowledge and technology.
Superficially, the U.S.-India partnership resembles a well-intentioned
relationship. But a closer look demonstrates India’s contradictory—
and outright worrisome—pursuit of dual-use technology
over the last decade. It also reveals Washington’s willingness to
choose regional friends and enemies and India’s eagerness to gain
technology and military prowess from a perceived vulnerable ally.
There are obvious questions to be asked: As the U.S.-India partnership
developed, why was no one in Washington paying attention to
statements and interviews coming out of India’s military and scientific
communities? And why was there no concern for the repercussions
of India’s acquisition of dual-use technologies, which could
set off a regional arms race?
Planning begins. As early as 1988, India planned to develop
dual-use technology for peaceful uses. In a government working
paper entitled “New Technologies and the Qualitative Arms Race,”
India explicitly called for “scientific and technological achievement
[to] be used solely for peaceful purposes.” More specifically, the
paper stated, “Progress in science and technology and the changes
that it brings about are a part of the historical process and no attempt
to halt that process because of the unwelcome nature of some
of these changes is likely to succeed. However, dedicated deployment
of science and technology for military purposes, irrespective
Last edited:


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
Obama's proposal for key changes to high-tech export regulation

In 2001, the then leaders of the U.S. and India, George W. Bush and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had the foresight to set up a council to promote high-tech trade between the two countries, India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG). As the reports, since then "U.S.-India trade has nearly tripled from $13.5 billion in 2001 to $37.6 billion in 2009. Last year, high-tech products accounted for more than 13 percent of total bilateral trade and nearly 25 percent of all U.S. exports to India."
The potential is much higher especially in the context of defence manufacturing but both sides have legal and political issues to overcome. India says that U.S. laws are too restrictive and is scared of sanctions as in post-nuclear tests in Indian in 1999. America, on the other hand, wants India to acknowledge its efforts to ensure that weapons don't fall in to the hands of the wrong groups/country's (U.S.'s non-insurgency-specific weapons sales to Pakistan continues to baffle us). In this light, the ongoing 2 day meeting of the group is significant with focus on how the barriers can be broken to enhance better trade. In terms of export controls, puts this in context, "In 1999, 24 percent of total U.S. exports to India required a “dual-use” license from BIS, today that number is less than 0.2 percent."
Excerpts from Obama's speech on the issue - "We've conducted a broad review of the Export Control System, and Secretary Gates will outline our reform proposal within the next couple of weeks. But today, I'd like to announce two steps that we're prepared to take.
First, we're going to streamline the process certain companies need to go through to get their products to market -- products with encryption capabilities like cell phone and network storage devices. Right now, they endure a technical review that can take between 30 and 60 days, and that puts that company at a distinct disadvantage to foreign competitors who don't face those same delays. So a new one-time online process will shorten that review time from 30 days to 30 minutes, and that makes it quicker and easier for our businesses to compete while meeting our national security requirements.
And second, we're going to eliminate unnecessary obstacles for exporting products to companies with dual-national and third-country-national employees. Currently, our exporters and foreign consumers of these goods have to comply with two different, conflicting set of standards. They're running on two tracks, when they could be running just on one. So we're moving towards harmonizing those standards and making it easier for American and foreign companies to comply with our requirements without diminishing our security. And I look forward to consulting with Congress on these reforms, as well as broader export control reform efforts."
In parting the notes that "the Indian government has not yet signed the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation (AGC), which are crucial to providing mutual logistical support and enabling the exchange of sensitive communications and equipment.
Is it only us or after Putin's visit, it seems that India-U.S. are doing the talking and Russia is doing the deals?


House keeper
Senior Member
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
India asks US to ease high-tech export controls

WASHINGTON: India has asked the United States to review and update its export controls to reflect the changed political realities of their
emerging strategic partnership.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao raised the issue with the US Department of Commerce during a two day meeting here of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG), a key component of India US Strategic Dialogue.

At this first meeting of the HTCG since President Barack Obama took over last, "the two sides were able to consolidate the progress made in the last five years and identified the next steps for further expanding high technology trade between India and the US," according to an Indian embassy release.

The identified steps were "especially in the areas of Defense and Strategic Trade, Biotechnology and Nano-technology," it said without spelling them out. "They also agreed to create new groups for focused attention on cooperation in Health IT and Civil Aviation."

The bilateral official talks of the HTCG, co-chaired by Rao and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Dennis F Hightower Tuesday were informed by the recommendations made by industry representatives of both countries on promotion of high technology trade between India and the USA.

Officials did not say how the US responded to the Indian demand voiced publicly by Rao to ease US high technology restrictions applicable to India and remove Indian firms from the barred Entity list.

"We see this as yet another area where Indian and US interest converge and, as a reliable and strategic partner, we look forward to seeing enhancement of trade in such goods and technologies between our two countries and removal of remaining Indian organizations from the Entity List," she had said at the business-to-business session of the HTCG.

"It is anomalous that a body like ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which is developing several collaborations with (US space agency) NASA, should continue to be on this list," Rao pointed out.

"The total exports of Advanced Technology Products from the US to India has increased from $1.3 billion in 2003 to over $4 billion in 2009, a somewhat impressive increase, particularly against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown," she noted.

Global Defence

New threads