New Delhi: India on Monday entered the Missile Technology Control Regime by becoming the 35th member of the elite group. This is India’s first ever entry into a multilateral export control regime.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the document of accession into MTCR in the presence of France’s Ambassador-designate Alexandre Ziegler, The Netherlands’ Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and Luxembourg’s Charg d’Affaires Laure Huberty.
“India has joined the MTCR this morning…India’s entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives,” External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
“India would like to thank each of the thirty-four MTCR Partners for their support for India’s membership. We would also like to thank Ambassador Pieter de Klerk of The Netherlands and Mr Robert Steinmetz of Luxembourg, co-Chairs of the MTCR,” the statement said.
The MTCR Point of Contact in Paris has conveyed the decision regarding India’s accession to the regime through the French Embassy in New Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg, it said.
Since its civil nuclear deal with the US, India has been trying to get into export control regimes like NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies.
India’s case in MTCR was opposed in 2015 by Italy which is not happy with New Delhi over the marines dispute. However, after both marines, accused of murdering two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, were allowed to return, the Italians have softened their opposition.
India’s efforts to get into the MTCR also got a boost after it agreed to join the Hague Code of Conduct, dealing with the ballistic missile non-proliferation arrangement, earlier in June.
MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. 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 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Significantly, China, which stonewalled 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.