Two influential lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have introduced a significant piece of legislation aimed at eliminating barriers to high-tech exports to India. This move comes at a time when President Joe Biden is in India to attend G20 Summit. The legislation seeks to greatly enhance the unrestricted export of sensitive technologies to India and promote bilateral cooperation in the technology sector.
The legislation, known as the "Technology Exports to India Act," was presented by Congressmen Gregory Meeks, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Andy Barr, the vice chair of the House India Caucus. The primary objective of this act is to streamline the sale of high-performance computers and related equipment to India while strengthening technology collaboration between the United States and India.
In a joint statement, the two lawmakers expressed their enthusiasm for introducing this bill during President Biden's visit to India for the G-20 Summit. They emphasized that the "Technology Exports to India Act" would eliminate restrictions on the sale of US products, such as digital computers and electronic assemblies, to India without requiring a Department of Commerce license. This would not only enhance US-India technology trade but also foster stronger connections between technology companies and increase supply chain resilience within a critical industry.
The lawmakers highlighted that this legislative change is aligned with the growing strength of the strategic partnership between the United States and India, and it is a pivotal step in reducing regulatory barriers to technology cooperation.
The bill underscores the importance of closer technological and defense cooperation with India to address common geopolitical and security challenges. Therefore, it is crucial to diminish regulatory impediments to technological collaboration with India in ways that bolster national security and advance strategic priorities.
Furthermore, the bill acknowledges that President Biden's flexibility in exporting high-performance computers to India would reinforce technological cooperation between the two nations and demonstrate Congress's dedication to India as a strategic partner. Specifically, removing India from the "Computer Tier 3" eligible countries' list in section 740.7(d) of title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations is seen as a step that would fortify the bilateral relationship.
The bill also highlights that the United States has designated India as a US Major Defense Partner, granting it access to a wide array of military and dual-use items regulated by the Department of Commerce. For items controlled for national security reasons by the Department of Commerce, India is generally eligible for licenses for civil or military end uses in India or for the Government of India, as long as these items are not intended for nuclear, missile, or chemical or biological activities.
However, the export of high-performance computers that meet specific specifications to India currently requires authorization from the United States Government under section 1211 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998. Notably, the US President lacks the authority to remove or exclude India from the Computer Tier 3 eligible country list. The passage of this bill through Congress would provide the necessary mechanisms to facilitate this change.
This legislative development coincides with the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden during the G20 summit in New Delhi. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to deepening and diversifying the bilateral major defense partnership between India and the United States.