Tracking Number:  227204

Title:  "Missile Technology Sale Draws US Sanctions." The US imposed sanctions May 11 on Russan and Indian organizations involved in the sale of rocket engines to India, which violates terms of the international Missile Technology Control Regime. (920511)

Date:  19920511


(Russian, Indian space organizations affected) (700) By Edmund F. Scherr USIA Diplomatic Correspondent Washington -- The United States May 11 imposed sanctions on Russian and Indian organizations involved in the sale of rocket engines to India, which violates terms of the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

According to an Indian official, the rocket engines were to be used to put communication satellites into orbit, but State Department deputy spokesman Richard Boucher noted that regardless of how they were to be used, the regime forbids their sale.

"We're dealing with a class of technology that's virtually identical, no matter what the purpose of it is....There's no way to draw the line between peaceful and non-peaceful purposes," the deputy spokesman emphasized. "So you have to draw the line on the basis of technology involved."

"That's the way the international understandings on this work, and that's the way our law works in terms of applying sanctions," he said. He noted that the sanctions could be waived "if the transaction was terminated and there was no evidence that they were engaging in trade that's not consistent with the MTCR guidelines."

The MTCR regime bans the transfer of technology for rockets that have the capacity to carry a payload of 500 kilograms a distance of 300 kilometers or more.

Boucher noted that the United States and other member nations of MTCR have been involved in discussions for some time with the Russian and Indian governments about the "serious concerns we have with the transfer" of such technology from the space organization Glavkosmos to the Indian Space Research Organization.

He said that the MTCR partners have concluded that the sale violates the regime's guidelines and "that is why they have urged that this deal not go through."

In its discussions, Boucher said, the United States has made clear that "U.S. law requires sanctions against entities engaged in activities that are inconsistent with MTCR guidelines."

"Since the facts are clear and since the parties to the transaction have declined to terminate those activities, the United States has imposed sanctions in accordance with our law," he said.

The U.S. sanctions include: -- a two-year ban on all U.S. licensed exports to these two entities -- Glavkosmos and the Indian space research organization;

-- a two-year ban on all imports to the United States from these entities, and

-- a two-year ban on U.S. government contracts with these entities. Boucher noted that U.S. law provides for sanctions in any case where a non-MTCR country exports, attempts or conspires to export, or facilitates the export of any MTCR equipment or technology that contributes to the design or production of MTCR-class missiles in another non-MTCR country.

Under the law, the sanctions "must also be applied to end users of such technology," he added.

He said the United States meanwhile is continuing its discussions with Russia and India on the matter. "We have explained to both governments that the termination of the Glavkosmos deal could permit us to consider a waiver of these sanctions."

"Our principal objective, and it is one that is shared by all of our partners in the MTCR, is to obtain the broadest possible international cooperation in curbing the dangerous proliferation of missile technology," Boucher emphasized.

"We want to work with all countries in the effort," he said. "We want Russia and India to be important contributors to this effort, and we're going to continue to work along those lines with them and to urge that they respond to international concern by halting the Glavkosmos deal."

(Later, a U.S. official said he did not know if other MTCR countries would also apply sanctions in this instance.)

Asked why the Russian and Indian governments did not prevent the technology deal, Boucher replied that "of course, we see it as within the power of governments -- by their policy and their action -- to prevent such deals...that we feel are inconsistent" with the MTCR guidelines. "That is why we've been discussing" this issue with them, he said.