MTCR, or the Missile Technology Control Regime, whose membership India gained today, is a group that aims to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
MTCR’s current partners are; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, US.
MEA sources told FE Online, "India's MTCR membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie ups with Indian industry and ease access to high tech items for space and defence programmes."
MTCR's membership will not only enable India to buy high-end missile technology but also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. This is also a boost for its aspiration to buy surveillance drones such as the Predator, made by General Atomics.
India's entry into MTCR also implies that it will find it easier to export missiles like BrahMos. India makes the “world’s fastest” supersonic cruise missile, the BrahMos, in a joint venture with Russia that both countries hope to sell to third countries, a development that would make India a significant arms exporter for the first time.
Meanwhile, India and Russia have agreed ‘in principle’ to export the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, BrahMos, to UAE, Vietnam, South Africa and Chile. Talks with countries like UAE, Chile, South Africa and Vietnam are in advanced stages, suggested an FE report last month.
MTCR's controls are applicable to certain complete rocket systems (to include ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles (SLVs), and sounding rockets) and unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems (to include cruise missiles, drones, UAVs, and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs)). "Partners also recognize the importance of controlling the transfer of missile-related technology without disrupting legitimate trade and acknowledge the need to strengthen the objectives of the Regime through cooperation with countries outside the Regime," says the MTCR website.
This leg-up for India comes even as PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government failed to bag enough support for the country for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).
India had applied for the MTCR membership last year and its application was under consideration as part of a “silent procedure” which ended without any objection from any country.