Wassenaar Arrangement: India's Admission


Introduction

  • Ministry of External Affairs welcomed the decision of the Wassenaar Arrangement to admit India as the 42nd member of the organization. 
  • The Plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement was held from 6th-7th December 2017 in Vienna, Austria. 
  • This is a global grouping that regulates trade and access to conventional weapons and dual-use technologies (which can be used for both civil as well as military purposes). 
  • The necessary procedural arrangements for India’s admission will be completed shortly. 

Background

  • India had been demanding supercomputer technology from USA and other countries for so long because the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) required supercomputers to study the behaviour of monsoons. 
  • But India was denied this supercomputer technology and gradually India developed its own supercomputer in due course of time. 
  • Now after joining the Wassenaar Arrangement, India can join many such dual-use technologies which India has not yet joined. 
  • As a non-signatory to the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), India had trouble accessing dual-use technology from member nations of these export control regimes, even after signing the nuclear deal with the United States. 
  • As part of the 2008 India-United States civilian nuclear agreement, the United States had agreed to support India's entry into all the four regimes – 
  • a) Nuclear Supnology Control Regime (MTCR) 
  • c) Australia Group 
  • d) Wassenaar Appliers Group (NSG) 
  • b) Missile Techrangement 
  • Since its civil nuclear deal with the U.S. France and Russia, India has been trying to get into export control regimes that regulate the conventional, nuclear, and biological and chemicals weapons and technologies. India is also reported to be in advanced stage of entering Australia group. 
  • Besides USA, Russia and France played key roles in ensuring India’s membership to Wassenaar Arrangement 

Benefits of Wassenaar Arrangement for India

  • India will get access to high technology which will help address the demands of Indian space and defence sectors. 
  • It will facilitate high technology tie-ups with Indian industry and easy access to high-tech items for India’s space and defence programmes. 
  • For greater access to such necessary technology and product exports, India will still have to apply for licences, but the entire application procedure is expected to get easier. 
  • India’s membership would not automatically entail any preferential treatment from the other WA members. It would create the grounds for re-alignment of India in the export control policy framework of other WA members. India will have to individually sign bilateral agreements with other member countries. 
  • Since India is a non-signatory of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), it would look up to the WA membership to boost its credentials to enter NSG. 
  • China which stands in the way of India’s NSG entry is not a member of WA. 

India Meets the Membership Criteria

  • India has an impeccable non-proliferation record, which stood it in good stead during the deliberations on NSG waiver.
  • In the Joint Statement issued in 2010 between India and U.S, the US notes that in its view, “India should qualify for membership in the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement according to existing requirements once it imposes export controls over all items on these regimes' control lists.” Thus the group should be open to India’s membership as this would be “a step toward integrating India into global non-proliferation efforts.
  • India had passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act in June 2005, fulfilling its obligations under UNSC Resolution 1540, which required UN member states to enact domestic legislation to better account for WMD materials and technology.


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 (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  • 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 multilateral cooperation was reached in 1995.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement was established to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.


Who all are its members?


  • The WA has now 42 members, India being the latest entrant.
  • With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are signatories of the WA.
  • Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.


Working of the Wassenaar Arrangement


  • WA’s goal 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 is to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.
  • The group works based on its 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.


Additional Information


Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)


  • It is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
  • It came into force in 1970.
  • The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China.


Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  • The group consists of 48 members.


Australia Group


  • The Australia Group is an informal group of countries established in 1985 to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons.
  • The group consists of 42 members.
  • India is also reported to be in advanced stage of entering Australia group.


Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

  • It is a multilateral export control regime.
  • It is an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying above 500 kg payload for more than 300 km.
  • It was established in April 1987 by the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
  • India became its member on 27 June 2016.



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