ISLAMABAD: The Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), on Tuesday, warned of the implications of Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) status given to India by the United States of America (USA) saying that the US was undermining the regional stability and global non-proliferation regime by giving India the status. In a statement issued on the eve of the visit of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to Islamabad, the SVI, a think tank that specializes in strategic stability issues, said, “The US tilt towards India for its geo-political goals, including the containment of China, marked a paradigm shift in the American non-proliferation policy”. The US Department of Commerce granted India the Strategic Trade Authorization tier 1 status on July 30 this year. The status would grant India the license-exemptions for the export of certain critical defense and military related technologies from the US. This US move to give India the STA-1 status had preceded the initiation of India-US ‘2+2 Dialogue’ which would involve their foreign and defense ministers. The Secretary Pompeo would visit Delhi for the ‘2+2 Dialogue’ after completing his Islamabad trip. SVI President, Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema, recalled that the status was normally granted by the US to a country, which was only a member of all four multilateral export control regimes; Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The Trump Administration, he noted, again made an exception for India by giving the status to it although it was still not a member of NSG. It should be recalled that the US backed India’s entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, and MTCR and helped it earn a waiver from the NSG in 2008. Cautioning about the implications of STA-1 status, Dr Cheema further said that it would accelerate the sale of critical equipment that could be used for military purposes particularly the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System; an armed version of Guardian Drones and NASAMS-II; a multi-tiered air defense network featuring 3D mobile surveillance radars and missile launchers. He maintained that after getting the STA-1 status, India would be able to get communications and security equipment circumventing COMCASA; a legal framework for the transfer of communication and security equipment from the US to India. Earlier, the SVI held an in-house roundtable conference on the implications of STA-1 status. Speaking at the conference, Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a defense analyst, said, “The STA-1 will legitimize India’s right to acquire technologies for boosting its nuclear program as well as enhancing its weapons program.” While addressing the conference, Dr Ghulam Mujadid Mirza observed that while India and the US were cooperating in this domain for few decades now, but the STA-1 would “further boost the high-tech space, military, strategic, and commercial trade transfers”. He warned that the STA-1 could de-stabilize the regional power balance and intensify arms race in the region. Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2018.