Wassenaar Arrangement admits India as 42nd member

The 23rd annual plenary of the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) concluded in Vienna late on Thursday after the members agreed to admit India as its 42nd member.

"Confirming that the existing membership criteria continue to apply, participating states reviewed the progress of a number of current membership applications and agreed at the plenary to admit India, the Arrangement's 42nd participating state as soon as the necessary procedural arrangements for joining are completed," said Jean-Louis Falconi, who chaired the plenary on behalf of the French government.

The statement was put up on the WA website.

"As president of the WA this year and co-rapporteur of India's candidacy, France warmly congratulates India for joining the Arrangement. One more recognition, after admission into (Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of the growing role India plays in today's world," tweeted Alexandre Ziegler, French ambassador to India.

"The United States welcomes the successful conclusion of the #WassenaarArrangement plenary, which offered #India membership, agreed upon over 80 control list updates, & (and) exchanged views on #proliferation challenges," the US mission to UN in Vienna tweeted.

The WA is the second multilateral export control regime that opened up its door for India.

The MTCR admitted India as a member in June 2016. The MTCR's primary objective is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for systems capable of carrying a 500 kg payload for at least 300 km, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

India is also keen to get the membership of Australian Group, which governs the international trade of materials used to make chemical and biological weapons.

China, however, has been persistently blocking India's move to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which controls the international trade of atomic technologies and materials.

Beijing has been maintaining that the NSG should first "explore" through "an open and transparent" process and reach agreement on a "non-discriminatory formula" to deal with the issue of granting membership to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Once the non-discriminatory formula would be adopted by the NSG, the cartel should move to the second stage to take up the "country-specific membership issues", argued China.

The NSG controls global nuclear commerce. The guidelines of the organisation prohibit its members to enter into nuclear deals with countries that have not signed the NPT.

India and Pakistan are not signatories to NPT.

On Thursday, Beijing reiterated that its position on admitting new members to the NSG remained unchanged.

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