India becomes MTCR full member: Everything you need to know

On 27 June, India’s application to become a full member of MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) was accepted. This marks India’s first entry into any multilateral export control regime. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to MTCR in the presence of the French Ambassador-designate Alexandre Ziegler, the Dutch Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and Charge d’Affaires Laure Huberty of Luxembourg.

India’s entry into MTCR has come days after an unsuccessful bid to become a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) due to opposition from China and a few other countries. Significantly enough, China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the NSG at the Seoul plenary, is not a member of MTCR.

Since the civil nuclear deal with the US, India has been trying to get into export control regimes like NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and technologies.

India can now make a supersonic cruise missile, the Brahmos, in a joint venture with Russia that both countries hope to sell to third countries. This would make India a significant arms exporter for the first time. No formal meeting is required for India to complete its entry into the group that was set up in 1987 to limit the spread of unmanned systems that are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The MTCR membership will be welcomed in the U.S. Congress, which PM Modi will address on Wednesday. The US Congress ratified a civilian nuclear agreement with India in 2008 that seeks to build commercial ties, while at the same time bringing New Delhi into the global security order.

This could have severe effects on the relations between India and China, with both countries now having almost equal force.