US welcomes India joining MTCR

Washington, June 28 (IANS) The US has welcomed India joining as the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), saying New Delhi has demonstrated “a sustained commitment to nonproliferation”.

Elizabeth Trudeau, director, Press Office, at the US State Department, to a question also said that all the MTCR members, including the US, agreed that India’s membership “would strengthen international nonproliferation”.

She said: “India has demonstrated to all MTCR partners a sustained commitment to nonproliferation and it has a legally based effective export control system that puts into effect the MTCR guidelines and procedures and administers and enforces such controls effectively.

“All 34 current members, including the United States, agreed India met the standard and that India’s membership would strengthen international nonproliferation,” she said.

On Monday, India became the 35th member of the global anti-proliferation bloc which would not only ensure transfer of high-end missile technology to the country but also give it a license to export arms.

The embassies of France, The Netherlands and Luxembourg conveyed news of India’s accession to the Indian government.

The MTCR membership is seen as a step forward in India’s recognition as a legitimate nuclear power after New Delhi conducted its atomic tests in 1998.

India had applied in 2008 for the membership of the elite club that controls exports in missile technology and unmanned delivery systems of atomic or other weapons of mass destruction. The group was set up in 1987 to limit the spread of unmanned systems for delivering weapons of mass destruction.

India’s long wait to join the MTCR actually ended in Washington earlier in June during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US trip when a deadline for members of the grouping to object to India’s admission expired on June 6.

None of the group’s 34 members raised any objections, paving the way for India’s smooth entry into the bloc of which China is still not a member.

China along with other nations like South Africa, Norway, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey last week blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) — one of the four multilateral export control regimes.

India will now also be able to acquire from the US armed Predator drones — America’s hot favourite in its war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

–IANS

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