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India welcomes sanction lifting

Indian flags
The U.S. move is being seen as a reward for India's support in the new war against terror  

By Satinder Bindra
CNN New Delhi Bureau Chief

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Indian officials have described the U.S. decision to lift of sanctions against India imposed more than three years ago as a "welcome development."

India has never regarded the sanctions -- imposed after a series of Indian nuclear tests -- as effective, and officials say the lifting of them is a vindication of their stance.

India's external affairs minister, Jaswant Singh, recently said India had never actively lobbied to get the sanctions lifted and said the country had never been desperate about them.

The sanctions will smooth the flow of World Bank lending and lending for large development projects.

It will also facilitate military to military contacts between India and the United States.

Analysts say the impact on India of the lifting of the sanctions will be minimal, but they say the impacts on the Pakistani economy will be "huge," as that economy has been in the doldrums for a while.

"This gives the Pakistani economy fresh air to breathe, it has room to recover," said analyst Brahma Chellaney in New Delhi.

An official, more detailed response is expected from New Delhi later Sunday or Monday.

Senior officials say they are discussing the development and checking into the exact details and wording of the Washington statement.

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