What MNNA is and what it is not

G Balachandran provides the best details yet of what the MNNA status entails and what it does not. Here are his main conclusions

Would MNNA status make it easier for Pakistan to obtain US defence equipment? No. Neither Sec 36 of AECA, which deals with the Congressional action necessary for military exports, nor Sec 38 of AECA, which deals with control of arms exports, make any reference to MNNA or any exemptions therein. Therefore, Pakistan’s MNNA designation will not add to its access to US military technology and equipment. Since the September 2001 sanctions waiver lifting nuclear-related sanctions on India and Pakistan, also waived the amended Pressler sanctions, in particular those on the sale of F-16s, there are currently no military sanctions on Pakistan. But, Pakistan’s weak industrial and S&T base will not enable full use of the concessions.

Neither will Pakistan’s MNNA designation add to its capability to match India’s modernisation programme. In fact, if India increased its defence spending to 3.0% from the current under 2.5%, it would overwhelm any Pakistani attempt to counter India.

Would India gain if it were to be declared MNNA? There’s no doubt that if Secretary Powell had indicated before his departure to Islamabad that he wanted to declare India as MNNA, his hosts would have asked him not to, this being an election year. Given the fractured nature of Indian polity, including in foreign policy matters, any MNNA designation would have been consi- dered sacrilegious, given the shibboleths of non-alignment [Financial Express]

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