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|May 15, 1999||
Pallone introduces bill to suspend US sanctions
C K Arora in Washington
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone has introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives, seeking to suspend all of the unilateral sanctions that the United States has imposed on India in protest against its nuclear tests last year.
In a statement on Friday night, Pallone -- who worked for the approval of a provision in the fiscal year 1999 omnibus Appropriations Bill to give President Bill Clinton authority to waive the sanctions during the current fiscal year -- said a more permanent and less discretionary approach was now necessary with regard to the curbs.
He was critical of the Clinton administration's current incremental, carrot-and-stick approach for waiving the sanctions. "We must turn 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 added.
Negotiations over our disagreements concerning nuclear issues should not destroy the burgeoning economic relations between America and India, he said.
The legislation, which was introduced in the house on Wednesday, removes the current discretionary approach for waiving sanctions on a selective basis or in exchange for certain concessions by India.
The recent disputes between the US and India over nuclear and missile testing issues have only resulted in political and diplomatic setbacks in our bilateral relationship. One of the major casualties of this year of antagonism has been the economic relationship between our two countries, Pallone said.
He said the historic free-market economic reforms that India initiated at the beginning of this decade have created vast opportunities for American participation in India's economic future.
India's huge middle class represents a significant market, while India's infrastructure development needs offer opportunities for cooperation that will benefit both countries.
"Unfortunately, this past year has seen US lose some of the momentum of the previous six or seven years. I'm hoping to contribute to putting the US-India economic relationship back on track," he added.
"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," Pallone said.
As a US congressman, he said he was concerned that the remaining sanctions were causing American companies to lose opportunities to do business in India, while our economic competitors in Europe and Japan gain a major foothold in this great emerging market.
Pallone noted how, during a recent congressional delegation to India, the leadership of the Confederation of Indian Industry, considered to be India's major business organisation, presented a wish-list to radically improve economic ties between the two countries. Foremost on the list was lifting of the sanctions.
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