India’s formal entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as its 35th member is set to give a boost to the country’s indigenous defence sector, weapons export programmes and also provide India an access to advanced missile technology from other countries. It is also set to give a fillip to ISRO’s deep space exploration programmes while giving a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Make in India mission.
India on Monday formally entered the MTCR when Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to the group. MTCR, essentially, puts a voluntary obligation on its member countries to put a check and work against proliferation of missiles, UAVs like drones, ballistic or cruise missiles and delivery system of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
India now has the right to full participation in all its organisational activities. “Since the nuclear tests were carried out by India in 1998, the country has been striving to present a case of nuclear legitimacy and MTCR is one of the major breakthroughs in that struggle,” Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar, Director, Policy Research Center, told this newspaper. “India has always been committed to WMD restraint. Since the May 1998 nuclear tests carried out by India, we have reiterated the same on multiple occasions. India is a responsible and credible interlocutor in such matters. Even though India is not a signatory of the on-proliferation treaty, joining these groups India’s credibility is burnished,” Bhaskar said. The relevance of the group accession also helps in furthering India’s non-proliferation objectives. “India’s induction into the group is a symbol of its technological advancement in missile technology and emergence of a powerful nation on the horizon of the new shaping world order. Entry into the now 35-member group will pave the way for entry into other crucial control groups like the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement,” Bhaskar added.
Some of the key takeaways from this monumental agreement also extend to India’s space agency ISRO. Since the Cold war era, Russia, then USSR, was reluctant to provide ISRO with restricted high-end technology for cryogenic engines in its rockets. Now, India has access to this technology which will further boost its deep space exploration capabilities and satellite launch programmes.
“This technology will bolster our space exploration capabilities and send some of our programmes years ahead,” K. Radhakrishnan, Former ISRO Chairman, said.
Concurrently, BrahMos is expected to see a boost. India will now be able to sell the supersonic cruise missile that it co-developed with Russia to other countries which will boost India’s arms export plans with Vietnam as one of the buyers standing in line. MTCR will also lift Israeli sanctions to an effect that we will now be able to buy Israeli made Arrow 2 missile.