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India joins the Wassenaar Arrangement

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India on Friday said it has joined the Wassenaar Arrangement after completing the internal procedures and the membership will facilitate high-technology tie-ups for country's defence and space programmes.

India has become the arrangement's 42nd participating State.

"India has joined the Wassenaar Arrangement on December 8, 2017 following the completion of internal procedures for joining the Arrangement," an external affairs ministry statement said.

In her reaction, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a tweet, thanked all the 41 Wassenaar Arrangement member states for their support.

"This is the second diplomatic success for India for the membership of export control regimes. We became a member of MTCR in June 2016," she said.

"India would like to thank each of the 41 WA participating States for their support for India's membership.

We would also like to thank Ambassador Jean Louis Falconi of France, 2017 Plenary Chair of the WA for his role in facilitating India's accession to the Arrangement," the ministry statement said.

India's entry into the Arrangement would be mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives, it added.

The plenary meeting of WA held on December 6 7 in Vienna decided to admit India.

India's entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

When asked if the WA membership will help in India getting into other export control regimes, including the 48- member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said there was no direct link between the two but it will confirm India's impeccable non-proliferation credentials.

"India's WA membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie-ups with Indian industry and ease access to high-tech items for our defence and space programmes," he said.

While membership of WA would not automatically entail any preferential treatment from other member nations, it would create the grounds for realignment of India in the export control policy framework of other WA members including eligibility for certain licensing exceptions, the spokesperson added.

Significantly, China, which stonewalled India's entry into the NSG, is not a member of the WA.

The Wassenaar Arrangement plays a significant role in promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.

Its member countries are required to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.

In June last year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), another key export control regime, as a full member.

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