NEW DELHI: India on Monday formally joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), paving the way for the country to access technologies that will boost its missile, space and unmanned aerial vehicle programmes.
The accession to MTCR, after years of negotiations dating back to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister, will entitle India to “full participation” in the next plenary of the regime which will take place in Busan in South Korea in October. This comes as a boost to the Narendra Modi government which last week did not succeed in its efforts to propel India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group following stiff opposition from China.
With India’s entry, MTCR now has 35 members. China has been unable to enter MTCR despite years of lobbying. India has been seeking admission to all four export control groups – NSG, MTCR, Australia and Wassenar groups.
Membership of MTCR will allow India access to state-of-the-art technology and allow further joint ventures with traditional partners such as Russia, France and USA, as well as other members of the exclusive club, people familiar with the matter said. It will also boost India’s defence exports to friendly countries, it said.
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The MTCR Point of Contact in Paris conveyed the decision regarding India’s accession to the regime through the Embassy of France in Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg. “As all formal procedures for membership have now been finalised, the chairman of the joint Netherlands-Luxembourg chairmanship of the Missile Technology Control Regime, Ambassador Piet de Klerk (NL), in close consultation with the French MTCR Point of Contact, is pleased to announce today that the Republic of India now formally is the 35th member of the Regime,” said an official statement issued by the chair of the MTCR from The Hague, Netherlands.
The official declaration from the MTCR chair further said: “The MTCR welcomes India into the regime, convinced that its membership will strengthen the international ef for ts to prevent proliferation of delivery systems (ballistic missiles or unmanned aircraft) capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.” The declaration came within minutes of foreign secretary S Jaishankar attending a brief ceremony in Delhi which was attended by the ambassadors of Netherlands, Luxembourg and the ambassadordesignate of France to India.
“India’s entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement after the ceremony.
Expressing its appreciation to the other members of MTCR, the ministry said, “India would like to thank each of the 34 MTCR partners for their support for India’s membership.”