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|April 9, 1999||
Pallone to move bill for suspension of sanctions
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone last night announced his decision to introduce a legislation in the house of representatives, seeking to suspend all the ''unilateral'' economic sanctions that the United States had imposed on India after its nuclear tests in May last year.
The former co-chairman of the congressional caucus of India and Indian-Americans, who was among the sponsors of a provision last year to give power to US President Bill Clinton to waive sanctions for one year, said ''a more permanent and less discretionary approach is now necessary''.
The measures, which he intended to introduce shortly after the current house recess, would be drafted in such a way as to remove the current discretionary approach for waiving sanctions on a selective basis or in exchange for certain concessions by India.
President Bill Clinton, in a letter to Pallone, last month had indicated that his administration would pursue an incremental approach to lifting sanctions in exchange for non-proliferation steps by India.
''I believe that the current approach is not entirely fair of transparent, Pallone said. ''What is needed is an end to all the sanctions imposed on India, including on dual-use and high technology.''
He advocated ''a US policy that turns away from the current stance of confrontation with India and towards recognition of India's legitimate security needs and the prospects for greater Indo-US cooperation in both strategic and economic areas.''
He felt that the current sanction regime was closely related to the ''entities list'' issued last November by the commerce department's Bureau of Export administration. The list includes Indian entities that are subject to a prohibition on exports and re-exports of items deemed to be involved in nuclear missile activities -- often indirectly so.
''If the sanction regime is eliminated, I believe it would create an incentive to eliminate the entities list. In either case, I'll keep pressing the administration on the entities list, but passage of this legislation would create a much better climate for eliminating the entities list,'' Pallone added.
He said the USdenial of the World Bank and the International Financial Institutions financing of infrastructure projects in India was another example of how unfair and counter-productive the sanctions -- and their partial lifting -- had been.
'I'm not only pushing for this legislation because of my concerns for how the sanctions impact on the people of India, although that is extremely important to me. As a US congressman, I'm concerned that the remaining sanctions are causing US companies to lose opportunities to do business in India, while our economic competitors gain a major foothold in this great emerging market,'' he added.
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