Washington, Jan 25 (Agencies): US-India relations crossed a "significant milestone" on the eve of latter’s Republic Day, as the Obama administration removed from its Entities list nine Indian space and defense related companies including Indian Space Research Organisation and Defense Research and Development Organisation.

"Today's action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said after a federal notification was issued in the federal registry.

The notification comes week ahead of the high-profile visit of a US trade delegation led by Locke to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. This is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8 last year.

The entities being removed are—Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the four remaining subordinates of the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO): Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defense Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex; Solid State Physics Laboratory.

It also includes the four remaining subordinates of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

Removal from the Entity List eliminates a license requirement specific to the companies, and results in the removed companies being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes, the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The notification removes India from several country groups in the Export Administration Regulations resulting in the removal of export license requirements that were tied to India's placement in those country groups.

"These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global non-proliferation framework," said Under Secretary of Commerce Eric L Hirschhorn.

In February, Secretary Locke will lead 24 US businesses on a high-tech trade mission to India. The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.