After becoming a member of the informal but key Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June last year, India was on Thursday admitted to a second export control bloc—the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA)—which aims to bring greater transparency and responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
India joined the WA as its 42nd member at a meeting of the group in Vienna, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters on Friday. “The necessary procedural arrangements for India’s admission will be completed shortly," he said.
India’s membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie-ups for Indian industry and make it easier for New Delhi to access high-tech items for its defence and space programmes.
It is also expected to “create grounds for the realignment of India in export control policy framework of other Wassenaar Arrangement members including eligibility of certain licensing exceptions," Kumar said, adding that it would help contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives.
“Congrats to India on becoming the 42nd member of #WassenaarArrangement. So pleased because I worked on this initiative w/ @MEAIndia during my tenure as U/S of Commerce. US Govt looks fwd to further cooperation w/ India on export controls (sic)," US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster said on Twitter.
The MTCR and the WA are two of the four major export control regimes that India has been trying to gain entry into for the past several years. The third is the Australia Group which defines itself as “an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons", on its website. The last is the Nuclear Suppliers group (NSG), which controls global nuclear commerce and technology. and where India’s membership has been blocked by strategic rival China. Significantly, China is not a member of the MTCR or the WA.
The 41-member WA was established in December 1995 and has since become a measure to coordinate and harmonise policies governing exports of arms, dual-use equipment and sensitive technologies. The group’s regulations are implemented through two lists—the Munitions List, which tracks conventional weapons, and the Dual-Use Goods and Technologies List.
New members are accepted based on specific criteria, including countries that produce or export arms or associated dual-use goods and technologies; establish national policies that restrict sale of arms and sensitive technologies to countries of concern; and adhere to non-proliferation regimes.