India officially joins Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

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Today on 27th June 2016, India formally joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as it's 35th member.

India will be entitled to “full participation” in organisational activities including the October 2016 plenary of the regime which will take place in South Korea.

India’s membership at the body was confirmed by the Chairman of the joint Netherlands-Luxembourg Chairmanship of the MTCR Ambassador Piet de Klerk, following which Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was handed over the decision.

How it all started?

India formally applied for membership of the group in June 2015 in an effort to integrate itself with the global nuclear energy market.

However, the application was rejected by Italy during the MTCR Plenary Meeting in Rotterdam in October last year as Italy was unhappy with New Delhi’s stance over the dispute over the detention of two Italian marines. 

Just before PM Modi left for the US earlier this month India implemented the International Arbitration Court's order on the second Italian marine. It allowed him to go to Italy pending the trial.

With the return of the second marine, Salvatore Girone, to Rome on May 29, Italy was brought onboard and the MTCR membership was announced in the joint press statement on 7th June in Washington DC as none of the 34 members opposed India's membership.

What is Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) ?

MTCR is one of the four global nuclear export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Wassennar Agreement and the Australia Group.

The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It also stipulates common export policy guidelines and a common list of controlled items.

The MTCR has two categories of items Category I, the export of which is highly restricted such as UAVs and rockets and Category II, the export of these items is moderately controlled, which includes dual-use technologies such as avionics, propellants and communication systems.

MTCR’s current partners are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, US.

How MTCR membership will benefit India ?

  • MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. India can also buy surveillance drones such as the Predator, made by General Atomics.
  • China, which opposed India’s entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of 34-nation MTCR.
  • India can participate in decision-making and setting international standards for responsible missile non-proliferation behaviour.
  • India can benefit from discussions and exchange of information on licensing, interdiction, best practices, and cooperate to impede specific shipments of concern with regards to missile proliferation.​
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