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Government denies End-user pact intrusive
Published on 25 Jul. 2009 12:40 AM IST
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The end-user verification agreement for easing high-end defence purchases India has struck with the US does not involve automatic access to Indian defence bases, official sources said Friday. Despite initial apprehensions, India agreed during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit July 20 to the end-user agreement that will allow the US to monitor the end use of the arms and sensitive technologies sold to India and ensure that they are not diverted to other countries. The agreement attracted criticism from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties that alleged it undermined India’s sovereignty by allegedly opening up its defence arsenal to intrusive inspections by the US. With this criticism as a backdrop, the sources pointed out that the pact does not give the US access to defence bases. On the contrary, it widens India’s options to get high-end defence technology. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday reassured parliament that India had not bartered away its sovereignty and it was in the larger interests of the nation. “We have also agreed on the end-use monitoring arrangements that will henceforth be referred to in letters of acceptance for the Indian procurement of US defence technology and equipment,” he explained. “This systematises ad hoc arrangements for individual defence procurements from the USA entered into by previous governments,” Krishna said. “I am also a proud Indian. The question of bartering away India’s sovereignty does not arise,” he said in response to questions and charges from MPs who demonstrated rare unity cutting across political spectrum, with almost all opposition parties criticising the government move.

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