Saturday 13 June 2015

India formally applies for membership of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

What is MTCR?
  • West-dominated elite club of 34 countries that controls trade in missile and space technology. 
  • MTCR was formed in 1987 and, through informal understanding between members, it maintains a tight control over trade in missile and rocket components.
Will India get membership?
  • Country's chances of getting the membership are bright, thanks to US' assurances.
  • One of the key outcomes of the Indo-US nuclear deal was that India would align itself to MTCR guidelines. Over the past six years, India has rejigged its export control guidelines to mirror MTCR requirements.
Why no membership so far?
  • Due do India's nuclear programme
Significance of membership

  • It will help India's space and missile programmes since it will get access to world-class technology.
  • MTCR will also allow it to export its own technology to countries that comply with the regime.
  • It is an important diplomatic step because this brings India closer to technology control regimes that the country had fought and worked around for decades to build its missile and space programmes. 
  • It could never get any active assistance for the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme under which the Agni and Prithvi series of missiles were built.
  • Indian space programme, which has been only for peaceful purposes suffered which will now also get some help
    • ISRO's deal with Russia for purchase of cryogenic engines, for instance, ran aground after US objected to the sale as a violation of MTCR guidelines.

What is difference between (Nuclear Supplier group) NSG and MTCR

  • NSG  
    • controls on fissile material and weapons technology
    • Granted India special waiver as a consequence of Nuclear deal with US so that India could legitimately participate in nuclear trade despite its weapons programme.
  • MTCR
    • Focused on delivery systems such as long-range missiles that would carry weapon payloads.

What in future?

  • The next stage is the membership of these groups(together constitute what India has always called the `technology denial regime'.):
    • NSG, 
    • MTCR, 
    • Wassenaar arrangement (small arms) (asked in UPSC Prelim once)
    • Australia Group (chemical weapons) 


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