- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NEW DELHI | India agreed Monday to allow the United States to strictly monitor its adherence to nonproliferation rules, which eases restrictions on Indian purchases of sophisticated U.S. weapons.

New Delhi also designated two sites where U.S. companies will be able to build nuclear reactors, which the State Department said represent up to $10 billion in business for firms such as General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna signed a so-called end-use-monitoring agreement, committing India to safeguards demanded by Washington to make sure that U.S.-made weaponry is only used for its intended purposes and does not fall in the wrong hands.

“We have agreed on the end-use-monitoring arrangements … for Indian procurement of U.S. technology and equipment,” Mr. Krishna told reporters after a meeting with Mrs. Clinton.

The secretary said the deal “will pave the way to greater defense cooperation between our countries,” as will a technology safeguards agreement that “will set up commercial partnerships in space.”

The safeguards will now make it possible for India to buy weaponry from companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, though no contracts are expected immediately.

As part of the modernization of its largely Russian-made arsenal, India plans to buy 126 multi-role fighters in what would be one of the largest arms deals in the world. The U.S. companies will be competing with Russia’s MiG-35, France’s Dassault Rafale, Sweden’s Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish firms.

Mrs. Clinton also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told her that sites “for two nuclear parks for U.S. companies have been approved by the government.”

“The parks will advance the aims of the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement, facilitate billions of dollars in U.S. reactor exports and create jobs in both countries, as well as generate much-needed energy for the Indian people,” she said.

She indicated, however, that before the deal can be implemented, India will have to “approve the liability legislation that will enable our U.S. companies to seize these important opportunities.”

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