India on Monday became the 35th member of a global anti-proliferation grouping, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which not only ensures transfer of high-end missile technology to the country, but also gives it a licence to export arms.

A Ministry of External Affairs statement said: “India joined the MTCR.” It said that the bloc’s point of contact in Paris had “conveyed the decision regarding India’s accession to the regime through the embassy of France in New Delhi as well as the embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg”.

The MTCR membership is seen as a step forward in India’s recognition as a legitimate nuclear power after New Delhi conducted its atomic tests in 1998. India had applied in 2008 for the membership of the elite club of countries which control exports in missile technology and unmanned delivery systems of atomic or other weapons of mass destruction. The group was set up in 1987 to limit the spread of unmanned systems for delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The grouping places restrictions on its members exporting missile and missile-related technology, particularly on those capable of carrying a payload of at least 500kg to a distance of at least 300 km. These include both cruise missiles and larger drones.

India’s long wait to join the MTCR actually ended in Washington earlier in June during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US trip when a deadline for members of the grouping to object to India’s admission expired on 6 June. None of the group’s 34 members raised any objections, paving the way for India’s smooth entry into the bloc of which China is still not a member.

Trade body FICCI has welcomes India’s membership to the MTCR, one of the four multilateral export controls regimes that it is committed to enter as part of its international obligations. India’s missile technologies have been home grown and developed over past three decades resulting into some of the benchmark weapon systems.

“With India’s exemplary non-proliferation record, membership of MTCR will facilitate access to niche technologies to Indian Industry in sensitive sectors like defence, aerospace and nuclear which will earlier being denied to be transferred to India. This inclusion also augurs well with India’s position as an important player in the world order and fitting an emerging economic superpower,” said A. Didar Singh, secretary general FICCI.

 “As Indian industry we have opportunity to rise to the occasion and put in place checks and balances compliant with the obligations that this regime entails. FICCI is committed to capacity building especially in MSMEs to be compliant with this export control ecosystem,” Singh added.

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