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India joins ballistic missile proliferation regime HCoC

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India on Wednesday joined a global ballistic missile proliferation regime but made it clear that it will not have any impact on the national security as well as country's missile programmes.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said that India's bid to enter the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was "on track" and the process to grant the membership was expected to be completed "soon".

While briefing reporters in New Delhi, Swarup said, "India has joined the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation by notifying the HCoC Central Contact in Vienna through diplomatic channels."

The HCoC is a voluntary, legally non-binding international confidence building and transparency measure that seeks to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

When asked if India's joining HCoC will effectively mean that country has to shelve its Agni missile programme, he said, "Our national security interest will not be impacted in any manner, whatsoever, by joining HCoC."

He also said, "India joining the Code signals our readiness to further strengthen global non-proliferation objectives."

Asked about India's bid to become member of nuclear control regimes, Swarup said, "As far as MTCR is concerned, our application is on track and well-received, and we expect that process of India's membership would be completed soon".

He also added that the country was in discussions with other control regimes like Wassenaar Arrangement for the membership.

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