The government is working to liberalise export norms for certain products which have dual-use like chemicals for companies that have proven track record, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Sarangi said that dual-use goods and technologies are sensitive and if it goes in the wrong hands of non-state actors, it can cause serious disruptions globally.
A small group of rebels in Yemen have disrupted the global trade as they are attacking foreign commercial ships with drones and missiles.
"We are working with the industry, with the ministry of external affairs, and with the customs to ensure that a whole lot of sectors are liberalised for those companies which have proven track record of responsible use and responsible exports," Sranagi said here at the 'National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls'.
It was organised by the DGFT and the external affairs ministry here.
Dual use implies the usage of these goods and technologies in military applications or its use in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD), along with their civilian or industrial applications.
These goods are categorised under the SCOMET list. Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) items require licensing for trade as they are under the strategic trade control regime of the world.
The day-long conference focussed on issues like showcasing India's export control system; preventing the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems by strengthening the export control system; and facilitating dialogue between the government authorities and industry stakeholders.
Sarangi also said that there is a need to develop an internal system which makes responsible use of high-end technologies or correct usage of SCOMET items by complying with the guidelines.
He added that the industry has helped the government in getting the processes streamlined and simplified for trade of these goods.
Over the years, India has liberalised general authorisations for drones, repeat order for stock and sale policy, global authorisations for intra-company transfer and general authorisation for export of chemicals.
Speaking at the event, Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said that trade and commerce have been disrupted due to various issues which have cropped up along the Suez Canal route due to misuse of high-end goods and technologies.
Barthwal said that these technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) can be used for the betterment of mankind if it is used properly, but if it gets into the wrong hands, it can also bring devastation.
"We have seen how drones which can be used in agriculture for improving productivity can be used for war kind of purposes," he said, adding, "India is working on how we can bring out a policy which can address the issues which may crop up because of the use of AI."
The secretary said that a balancing approach is required for trade in these SCOMET items.
There is always an apprehension that these technologies should not get into the wrong hands and therefore at national and international levels, there are policies, framework and institutions, which look into the issues.
"We want free trade to grow but we also want to ensure that free trade should not become an instrument of mass destruction or terrorism," Barthwal said.
Joint Secretary in the external affairs ministry Muanpuii Saiawai said that exports of dual-use goods and technology could play a key role in increasing the country's exports.
However, she added that export control of these goods and technology are a challenging area to implement in the context of technology transfers in view of its intangible nature.