Wassenaar Arrangement: India joins global grouping

Q.  India has entered which of the following groupings in 2016-2017 since the formation of the NDA government?
- Published on 11 Dec 17

a. MTCR
b. Wassenaar Arrangement
c. NATO
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c

ANSWER: Both a and b
 
Wassenaar Arrangement: India joins global groupingAfter its entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2016, India was on Thursday admitted as the 42nd member+ of the Wassenaar Arrangement - a global grouping that regulates transfer and access to conventional weapons and dual-use technologies.

In the coming months, India expects to be included in the Australia Group as well, leaving the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - where it faces stiff opposition from China - as the last non-proliferation regime that India expects to enter.

India still has to apply for licences for high-tech and dual-use exports, but from now, that process is expected to get easier.

This is the second of four non-proliferation regimes India has joined after the India-US nuclear deal was cleared.

The important aspect of three out of the four regimes is that China is not a member of them except for the NSG.

The formal application to Wassenaar was made by India in 2016, although the work to align Indian rules and munitions lists to Wassenaar rules began in 2014.

Bit by bit, India's accession to these non-proliferation regimes is making it clearer that China's political opposition is the stumbling block.

India's membership to MTCR opened doors for its space programme and its ability to source high-end missile systems and technologies as well as surveillance drones.

The Wassenaar membership is important for India, giving it a leg up as a responsible player in the world of dual-use goods and technologies and transfer of conventional arms.

It gives India an important voice in shaping global response to regional and global "security developments, advances in technology and market trend.

Outside these groups India would have trouble accessing a number of these technologies, because India has been for over 40 years the target of dual-use technology denial regimes.

Even after the India-US deal, India hasn't actually been able to break through these regimes.

In the coming months, India expects to be included in the Australia Group as well, leaving the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - where it faces stiff opposition from China - as the last non-proliferation regime that India expects to enter.

The WA membership is also expected to build up a strong case for India's entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Significantly, China, which stonewalled India's entry into the 48-nation NSG, is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

What is Wassenaar Arrangement?
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement is an elite club of countries which subscribe to arms export controls, similar to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
  • The body came into being in 1996 to succeed the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls. The name comes from Wassenaar, a suburb of The Hague, where the agreement to start such a multi-lateral cooperation was reached in 1995.
  • The WA has 42 members, the latest entrant being India. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of the WA, which is headquartered in Vienna.
  • According to the WA website, the goal of the Arrangement is to "promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies".
  • Participants are required to "ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine the goal". The aim, according to WA, is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.
  • The Arrangement works according to what it calls WA Control Lists. The controls are subject to ratification by the participants.
  • WA members agree to exchange information on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies and report on such transfers and denials of controlled items to non-participants.

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