After last week’s disappointment in Seoul, there was something to cheer about for South Block on Monday. India has formally joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The Ministry of External Affairs press statement said: “the MTCR Point of Contact in Paris has conveyed the decision regarding India’s accession to the regime through the Embassy of France in New Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg.”
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was handed over the formal credentials at his office in Delhi on Monday. India is now part of the elite missile technology control group becoming its 35th member country. With this development the jinx is broken – India has made its way into the first multilateral export control regime and the embarrassment suffered by the government at the Seoul plenary of the Nuclear Suppliers Group can be set aside briefly.
India put up a formal application for the MTCR membership last year though it had been adhering to its guidelines since 2008 as part of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. New Delhi, however, came in for a rude shock with Italy blocking India’s entry. Rome was miffed over India having detained two of its marines on charges of murder and used the MTCR forum as a leverage to exert pressure on India.
Meanwhile, time was running out for New Delhi that wanted to wrap up negotiations while US President Barak Obama was still in office. Just before PM Modi left for the US earlier this month India implemented the International Arbitration Court’s order on the second Italian marine. It allowed him to go to Italy pending the trial.
With this move, Rome was brought onboard and the MTCR membership was announced in the joint press statement on 7th June in Washington DC. It said “Recalling their shared commitment to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the leaders looked forward to India’s imminent entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime.” more