India gains entry into cartel against chemical, biological weapons

India gains entry into cartel against chemical, biological weapons

India on Friday became a member of  Australia Group, aimed at checking proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

With this, India has gained entry in three of the four multilateral export control regimes even as its quest for a seat in the most significant of them all  Nuclear Suppliers Group  continued to be blocked by China. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) admitted India in June 2016 and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) in December 2017.

The Australia Group (AG) announced that India's plea for membership of the cartel had received widespread support from its members at its last plenary in Paris in June last year.

New Delhi said that India's entry into the AG would be "mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives".

NSG pursuit on

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that India's membership would help further strengthen its impeccable non-proliferation credentials. He said that India was continuing its pursuit for membership of the NSG and remained engaged with the members of the cartel, which controlled global nuclear commerce to check proliferation of atomic weapons.

The AG said in its statement that India had "demonstrated the will to implement rigourous controls of high standards in international trade, and its capacity to adapt its national regulatory system to meet the necessities of its expanding economy".

India, like all other members of the AG, is a signatory to both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

The AG members do not undertake any legally binding obligations and the effectiveness of the cooperation depends solely on "a shared commitment to the goal of stopping proliferation of chemical and biological weapons".

Credentials

The MTCR's primary objective is to restrict proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for systems capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction. The WA controls global commerce of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.

China has been blocking India's bid for NSG   membership arguing that the NSG should   reach agreement on a non-discriminatory formula to deal with the issue of granting membership to countries which had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

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