India has become the first south Asian country to be added to the Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) list after the US issued a federal notification to this effect, paving the way for high-technology product sales to New Delhi, particularly in civil space and defense sectors. Also, it is now only the third Asian country after Japan and South Korea to be given that status by the United States. Overall, India has become the 37th country to be designated the STA-1 status, which is generally given by the US to NATO allies.
The federal notification gains significance as the Trump Administration made an exception for India, which is yet to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG. Traditionally, the US has laced only those countries in the STA-1 list who are members of the four export control regimes- Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), Australia Group (AG), and the NSG. While India is a member of three of the multilateral export control regimes mentioned above, it hasn't received an NSG membership because of China's repeated efforts to block it.
The Trump government, in its federal notification, noted how India is a member of three of the four multilateral export regimes. By placing India in the STA-1 list, the US has acknowledged that for all practical purposes India adheres to the export control regimes of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. India is now the only nuclear-armed country in the world to get such a status. The exception for New Delhi is intended to send a very strong political message to China and the world, taking into account that America's closest ally Israel is yet to be given this status, primarily because it is not a member of these multilateral export control regimes.
“This action befits status as a Major Defence Partner and recognises” the country's membership in three of the four export control regimes- the MTCR, WA, and AG, the notification said. This rule is another in the series of rules that implement reforms to which the US and India mutually agreed to promote global non-proliferation, expand high technology cooperation and trade, and ultimately facilitate India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. The notification said the rule also makes conforming amendments.
The US and India continue their commitment to work together to strengthen the global non-proliferation and export control framework and further transform bilateral export control cooperation to recognise the full potential of the global strategic partnership between the two countries.