India bids for Nuclear Suppliers Group entry via MTCR membership
Even as India is on an all out push to become a member in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), sources said its strategy seems to first bag a membership of the other export control regime, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Getting entry into one club will make the process easier for India to get a membership of other export control groupings.
The ongoing five-nation visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi includes three NSG countries — US, Switzerland and Mexico. The NSG is a group of 48 countries with an objective of nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that can be used for developing nuclear weapons.
Many countries in the grouping see Non-Proliferation Treaty, which India is not a signatory to, as a cornerstone of their policies on export controls. Some of these countries include New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Mexico, sources said.
Chinese opposition to India’s membership into the club has a definite Pakistan angle to it. Days after India made a formal application to be a part of the club, Pakistan too followed suit.
India expects the US to garner support of other countries to push Indian bid to the NSG.
“The merits of our joining NSG derive from the fact that we have a substantial expansion of our nuclear energy segment ahead of us. The fact is that as the industry grows, we will ourselves become a serious nuclear exporter and it is also a fact that our record in this has been very good,” foreign secretary S Jaishanksar said while briefing the media on PM’s visit on Friday.
For India, it will be comparatively easy to get entry into the MTCR — an elite club of 34 countries that controls trade in missile and space technology.
Against the backdrop of the tussle between India and Italy over marines who had shot dead two fishermen off Kerala coast, Rome opposed India’s entry into MTCR. With the marine issue no longer a matter of contention, Indian officials are hopeful of Italian support for India’s bid to MTCR.
A membership in such clubs will help India get access to technology and will be able to export its own technology to other member countries in the relevant fields.