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India Makes Case For Admission to Elite Export Control Groups

India has built a strong case for its admission to four separate export control regimes, moves that would improve its own regulation of sensitive technologies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday (see GSN, Jan. 26, 2011).

New Delhi is seeking entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group; the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Wassenaar Arrangement, which seeks to restrict the sale of dual-use technology; and the Australia Group, which seeks to curb the proliferation of biological and chemical warfare agents, RTT News reported.

"India has never been a source of proliferation of sensitive technologies and we are determined to further strengthen our export control systems to keep them on par with the highest international standards." Singh said in remarks at this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul (see related GSN story, today).

The Indian leader said New Delhi presently complies with the policies of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime even though it is not yet a member of either entity.

"As a like-minded country with the ability and willingness to promote global nonproliferation objectives, we believe that the next logical step is India's membership of the four export control regimes," Singh said.

India's possession of nuclear weapons outside of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has prevented its accession to the exclusive export groups in the past. However, a 2008 waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group opened the door for New Delhi to conclude atomic trade with the United States, Russia, France and other nations.

Washington has thrown its support behind Indian membership to the four export control systems (see GSN, Nov. 8, 2010).

In order to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, Singh said states with such arsenals should shrink the importance they play in national security postures. He also called for globally held norms to govern any initial usage of nuclear arms.

Singh declared his government would make a $1 million donation to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Nuclear Security Fund and would take part in the U.N. nuclear watchdog's conference next year on atomic materials protections.

"India is party to the main international legal instruments on nuclear security, -- the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendment, as well as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism," the prime minister said, continuing "We support the universalization of these instruments" (RTT News, March 27).

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