Category 8 paves way for India's entry into Wassenaar Arrangement

Category 8 paves way for India's entry into Wassenaar Arrangement

If India got a seat at the Wassenaar Arrangement this week, it was largely due to the "Category 8" - the latest inclusion in its export control list.

New Delhi substantially modified its export control mechanism to meet the requirement of the Wassenaar Arrangement, which regulates international transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. What however finally opened up the WA's door for India this week is the "Category 8" - a new inclusion in the roll of Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies, a.k.a. the SCOMET list.

Since the goods and technologies included in the SCOMET list can be used both for civil and military purposes, the government exercises strict control over their export from India. The SCOMET goods and technologies can be exported only under licenses issued by the government.

India's SCOMET list included eight categories of goods and technologies – from Category 0 to Category 7 “ till early this year.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on April 24 added the new "Category 8" to the SCOMET list, including in it certain special materials and related equipment, material processing, electronics, computers, telecommunications, information security, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics, marine, aerospace and propulsion.

The Wassenaar Arrangement maintains two "Control Lists" - one comprising dual-use goods and technologies and the other comprising certain munitions. The cartel's "participating governments" exercise stringent control on export of the items and technologies included in the two lists in order to prevent "unauthorised transfers or re-transfers".

The items included in the new Category 8 of India's SCOMET roll are the ones that the Wassenaar Arrangement also put on its control list of dual use goods and technologies.

The DGFT added the new "Category 8"   to the SCOMET list to "harmonise" India's Export Control list with that of the Wassenaar Arrangement and thus to meet the membership criteria of the cartel.

"Category 6" of the SCOMET list was kept "reserved" till earlier this year. It was also populated with the same items the Wassenaar Arrangement put on its munitions list.

The items listed under Category 0 of the SCOMET roll included "nuclear materials, nuclear-related other materials, equipment and technology".  Category 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 includes toxin chemical agents and other chemicals; micro-organisms and toxins; certain materials, materials-processing equipment and related technologies; nuclear-related other equipment, assemblies and components, test and production equipment and related technology that are not controlled under Category 0 and aerospace systems, equipment including production and test equipment, related technology and specially designed components and accessories respectively.

It was however the inclusion of the "Category 8" in its SCOMET list that made the 41 participating governments of the Wassenaar Arrangement agree to admit India as the 42nd member in the annual plenary of the cartel in Vienna this week.  

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