India says Wassenaar Arrangement membership will help it access higher-end-technology

India says Wassenaar Arrangement membership will help it access higher-end-technology

India on Friday said that its entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement would make it easier for it to procure higher- end-technology items from around the world for its defence and space programmes.

New Delhi said that India's Wassenaar Arrangement membership would help its companies to enter into high-technology tie-ups with foreign firms, particularly the ones based in the 41 countries which had already been in the cartel.

"While membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement would not automatically entail any preferential treatment from other members, it would create the grounds for realignment of India in the export control policy framework of its other participating governments, including eligibility for certain licensing exceptions," Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

The Wassenaar Arrangement controls global commerce of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The 23rd annual plenary of the cartel concluded in Vienna on Thursday after its 41 participating governments agreed to admit India as its 42nd member.

Kumar on Friday said that the necessary procedural arrangements for India's admission into Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) would be completed shortly.

"Confirming that the WA's existing membership criteria continue to apply, WA Participating States reviewed the progress of a number of current membership applications and agreed at the Plenary meeting to admit India which will become the Arrangement's 42nd Participating State as soon as the necessary procedural arrangements for joining the WA are completed," Jean- Louis Falconi, who chaired the cartel's plenary on behalf of French Government, said in a statement issued from Vienna.

The statement was put up on the website of the WA.

New Delhi said that its entry into the WA would be "mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives".

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

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) admitted India as a member in June 2016. The MTCR's primary objective 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.

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

China, however, has been persistently blocking India's attempts to get the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, 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 the countries, which had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or 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 guidelines prohibit its members to enter into nuke ties with the countries that did not sign the NPT. Neither India, nor Pakistan has signed the NPT so far.

Beijing has been arguing that if the "NPT signatory" criterion was diluted to admit India into the NSG, it should also open up the door for other "non-NPT" countries, including Pakistan.

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