Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


Introduction : The article discuss various issues and implications of relating to India’s membership issues in MTCR and NSG.

What is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?

  • Established in April 1987, it is a voluntary association of 34 countries and four “unilateral adherents” that follow its rules: Israel, Romania, Slovakia, Macedonia.
  • The group aims to slow the spread of missiles and other unmanned delivery technology that could be used for chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.
  • The regime urges members, which include most of the world’s major missile manufacturers, to restrict exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km, or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.

What does India need to do to get in?

  • Prospective members must win consensus approval from existing members.
  • United States policy had been that members that are not recognised nuclear-weapon states — including India — must eliminate or forgo ballistic missiles able to deliver a 500 kg payload at least 300 km.
  • The US, however, made an exception in 1998 for Ukraine, permitting it to retain Scud missiles and, in October 2012, South Korea was allowed to keep ballistic missiles with an 800-km range and 500-kg payload that could target all of North Korea.
  • For India, the US seems to have waived these terms, allowing it retain its missile arsenal.

How does the MTCR work?

  • Members must have national policies governing export of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, space launch vehicles, drones, remotely piloted vehicles, sounding rockets, and their components.
  • There are two categories of exports: Category I, which are basically exports of complete products and major sub-systems and are meant to be extremely rare — with guidelines instructing members that “there will be strong presumption to deny transfers”; and
  • Category II, which includes materials, technologies and components whose transfers can be made more easily, since they generally have civilian applications, even though these too are done with caution.

Does joining the MTCR make getting missile technology easier?

  • There are no special concessions for MTCR members.
  • But India hopes its MTCR membership will be one more reason for the US to consider exporting Category 1 UAVs, Reaper and Global Hawk, which have been key to counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Are there any sanctions for breaking MTCR rules?

  • Rulebreakers can’t be punished. However, US law mandates sanctions for companies and governments that export MTCR-controlled items. The sanctioned entity can’t sign contracts, buy arms and receive aid for two years or more.

Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?

  • Yes and no. North Korea, Iran and Pakistan acquired ballistic missile technology from China. But then, China began to feel the pinch of US technology sanctions — and announced, in November 2000, that it would stop exporting ballistic missile technology.
  • Four years later, it applied for MTCR membership — but has been denied entry because of suspicion that some companies in the country are secretly supplying technology to North Korea.
  • Many others dropped missile programmes because of MTCR pressure: Argentina abandoned its Condor II ballistic missile programme to join the regime.
  • It is possible China may now seek some kind of bargain, whereby it is given entry to the MTCR in return for letting India get into the NSG, where it wields a veto.

NSG: In the great wall of China, a few chinks

  • Why does India want to be in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?
  • Following India’s 1974 nuclear tests, the US pushed for setting up a club of nuclear equipment and fissile material suppliers.
  • The 48-nation group frames and implements agreed rules for exporting nuclear equipment, with a view to controlling the spread of nuclear weapons; members are admitted only by consensus.
  • India has been trying, since 2008, to join the group, which would give it a place at the high table where the rules of nuclear commerce are decided — and, eventually, the ability to sell equipment.

Why doesn’t Pakistan want India in?

  • The Pakistani argument is that giving India easy access to fissile material and technology for its civilian nuclear programme means it would have that much more material for its military nuclear programme.
  • Thus, Pakistan says, the move to give India NSG membership is fuelling a nuclear arms race.
  • And what is China’s problem?
  • Chinese diplomats say Beijing wants NSG entry to be norm-based — in other words, whatever rules govern Indian entry should apply to others too.
  • Norm-based entry would, presumably, help Pakistan gain entry, something many in the NSG are certain to resist because of the country’s record as a proliferator of nuclear-weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Question : The entry into global groups like MTCR and NSG reflects India’s growing stature in the world politics. Comment. Discuss about the importance of these groups in the South Asian geopolitics.

Suggested Approach:

  1. These groups and their importance.
  2. India’s diplomatic efforts to enter into these groups.
  3. Impact of India’s entry into these groups on South Asian geopolitics.

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Read 1619 times Last modified on Monday, 20 June 2016 16:40

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