On Monday, as expected, India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), just days after its bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group was put on hold.
The MCTR is an informal and voluntary association of countries that works toward the non-proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and seeks to coordinate national export licensing efforts. It was originally set up in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States.
India’s membership in MCTR has been an issue discussed within the grouping for years, with a consensus decision by all members for its admission finally issued this week. Notably China, which has been accused of blocking India’s NSG bid, is not a member of the MCTR.
“India would like to thank each of the thirty-four MTCR Partners for their support for India’s membership,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a press statement on June 27.
“India’s entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.”
The United States also welcomed India’s entry into the MCTR. At a press conference on Monday, State Department press office director Elizabeth Trudeau said India was admitted because it “demonstrated to all MCTR partners a sustained commitment to non-proliferation and it has a legally-based, effective exports control system.”
Much of the commentary leading up to and following India’s admission has focused on the implications of this for New Delhi moving forward. To the extent that New Delhi’s accession sees it strengthening its own export controls and is viewed as an enhanced commitment to non-proliferation, it may make it easier for its fellow MTCR members to transfer technologies to India. Particular attention has been on the United States, given India’s interest in items such as U.S. drones, though this is only one of a series of considerations that Washington and New Delhi have with respect to such transfers.
In the meantime, India’s MTCR membership will see it participate in the grouping’s upcoming activities, including the annual plenary meeting to be held in South Korea in October.