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|October 3, 1998||
US contemplates blacklisting Indian companies as part of sanctions
While the United States's Congress debates a temporary waiver of sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan because of their nuclear tests in May, the Clinton administration is getting ready to release a long list of companies and government institutions in the two countries that Americans will be barred from doing business with if the sanctions stay in place, says the New York Times.
The daily quotes experts saying that the list, required under an amendment punishing nations that test to develop nuclear weapons, is due out soon and could not come at a worse time for prime minister Nawaz Sharief of Pakistan and Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India.
It recalled how both men pledged last week in speeches to the United Nations that they would sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty within the coming year though both do not have solid support for the move at home.
In India and Pakistan, where the nuclear tests met with jubilation, there have been second thoughts about the consequences of those tests, which alerted the strategic map of Asia and increased the number of countries with nuclear weapons for the first time in 30 years.
The US sanctions that followed -- covering loans, credits, credit guarantees, military and munitions exports -- were felt worse initially by Pakistan, which was already under congressional restrictions, but India did not escape the effect, which will worsen if links to US trade and investment are disrupted.
Even with a waiver, bars will remain on deals with Indian and Pakistani nuclear institutions. The United States earlier waived some restrictions on agricultural sales.
The hope of the two prime ministers had apparently been to convince people that signing the 1996 test ban treaty would bring benefits -- at the very least the lifting of sanctions. The publication of a list of prohibited business partners, however coincidental, could negate that argument, the daily adds.
It quotes administration officials saying that they have no option, since the drawing up of the list was required by the Congress under the 1994 Glenn Amendment, named atter its author Senator John Glenn, a democrat from Ohio.
Officials call it an ''entities list'' because it is a mixed bag of targets, including government institutions, military units, government-owned companies and private firms doing business with the nuclear establishment in either country.
About a dozen Indian and Pakistani companies and fewer than 20 government departments in India and 15 in Pakistan are involved, officials said, but dozens more subdivisions are also listed, bringing the list to 100 or more names. The most severe restrictions cover government organisations involved in nuclear or missile activities.
It quotes Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Karl Inderfurth as having said that the impending release of the list did not in any way reflect disappointment with the statements made by the two leaders, though administration officials said at the time the pledges were made that Washington also wanted to see progress in other disarmament areas.
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