Wassenaar Arrangement plenary starts in Vienna, may admit India

Wassenaar Arrangement plenary starts in Vienna, may admit India

Even as Beijing is persistently blocking New Delhi's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement another multilateral export control regime seems set to open up its doors for India.

The 23rd annual plenary of the Wassenaar Arrangement commenced in Vienna on Wednesday and New Delhi is expecting that the 41-member cartel might take a positive decision on admitting India, sources told DH.

Russia, France, Germany and the United States are strongly supporting India's entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement, which controls the global trade of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.

China, which blocked New Delhi's plea for admission into the NSG, is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday discussed the issue of India's entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Jaishankar and Ryabkov led the diplomats of India and Russia respectively for the foreign office consultation in New Delhi.

"India could join (the Wassenaar Arrangement), as the decision is being taken today and tomorrow. The positive action could be taken tomorrow, fingers crossed. This is an example and reflection of Russia's unwavering support to India's membership of international export control regimes," Ryabkov told journalists.

Four regimes

The Wassenaar Arrangement is one of the four export control regimes India has been trying to enter ever since it inked the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with United States in 2008. France has been the chair of the Wassenaar Arrangement since January this year and the United Kingdom will take over after the plenary in Vienna.

The NSG controls global export of nuclear material and technology. The Australian Group governs international trade in materials used to make chemical and biological weapons. The objective of the Missile Technology Control Regime is to restrict proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

The MTCR admitted India as a member in June 2016.  

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