US expects India to join missile tech control group ‘very quickly’

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 07, 2016 14:22 IST
India successfully test-fired its indigenously built, nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile from a test range off Odisha’s coast

India may join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) “very quickly” as there are no longer any major obstacles and things are moving positively, a senior US official has said.

“We do expect that India will join MTCR very quickly. I think things are moving positively,” a senior Obama administration official told PTI when asked about the possibility of India joining the 34-member group.

“There are no longer any major obstacles that we are aware of,” the official said on Monday.

US President Barack Obama has strongly backed India’s membership into the MTCR and three other export control regime - Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

The move will boost India’s efforts to purchase Predator drones from the US and export its high-tech missiles to friendly nations.

However, on India becoming a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) where China is openly opposing it, the Obama administration is keeping its fingers crossed for the moment.

“On NSG, there is a process that is still ongoing. I do not think the NSG plenary is not meeting until later in this month. Let’s see how it goes but the US is absolutely, categorically, unreservedly committed to India’s membership in the NSG.

“The US and India and other friendly countries are working actively together to see that India get there,” the official, who requested anonymity, added.

Established in April 1987, the voluntary MTCR aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks.

The MTCR regime urges its 34 members, which include most of the world’s key missile manufacturers, to restrict their exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500-kg payload at least 300 kilometres or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.

Since 2008, India has been one of the five countries that are Unilateral Adherents to MTCR.

After MTCR’s announcement, India and the US are expected to fast-track their discussion on sale of predator series of unmanned aircraft for the Indian military.

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