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India Says Logic Dictates Inclusion in Elite Export Control Regimes

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on Wednesday spelled out his government's case for admission into four elite international export control regimes, the Times of India reported (see GSN, March 27).

New Delhi in November 2010 began its campaign for membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Nuclear Suppliers Group; 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. Since that time, New Delhi has engaged in "outreach" talks with the four entities.

Mathai told a meeting of atomic specialists "the logical conclusion of partnership with India is its full-membership of the four multilateral regimes." 

The Indian government has yet to file an official request for membership to the international export control groups, but its request has been a subject of discussion in each of the organizations. In the coming months, the four multilateral entities are slated to hold full-membership meetings where the question of admitting India is expected to be a focus of discussions.

New Delhi hopes Mathai's detailed remarks this week on the specific actions India has implemented to control the sale abroad of sensitive technologies will bolster its case for membership.

A major obstacle is India's status as a nuclear-armed nation outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. New Delhi has made it clear it has no plans to sign the NPT pact.

Mathai encouraged nations in the export control regimes to keep their larger organizational aims in mind as they consider India's suit. "There are underlying objectives and principles that are common to all the regimes to which India subscribes to fully as it has demonstrated responsible nonproliferation and export control practices and has shown the ability and willingness to contribute substantially to global nonproliferation objectives."

The secretary pointed out his country has the capacity to generate a significant number of the technologies and goods that are regulated by the four regimes. "As India's integration with the global supply chains moves forward, it would be in the interest of the four regimes that India's exports are subject to the same framework as other major supplier countries."

India is particularly keen to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which in 2008 authorized members to conduct atomic trade with the South Asian state. As the United States has rotating leadership of the group in 2012, New Delhi believes the timing is ripe to assertively press its case. The Obama administration has voiced its support for Indian membership in all four regimes

"India has continued with its policy of refraining from the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states that do not possess them and supporting international efforts to limit their spread," Mathai said. Such systems could be used in producing nuclear weapons material; the Nuclear Suppliers Group has established a rule preventing members from providing enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a point of aggravation for India (Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, April 19).

 

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