One year after India first applied for membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the country is set to be admitted after the unanimous approval of the MTCR’s current 34 Member States. The MTCR is a multilateral group which seeks to limit the spread of missile equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, and technologies related to the production of delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction.
With no objections to India’s entry raised by the deadline on Monday, India will be the newest member of the exclusive MTCR club, pending completion of procedural formalities and internal documentation processes.
Hailed as a breakthrough for India’s strategic position, membership to MTCR will provide India access to high-calibre technologies to boost the country’s space and defence programmes. In particular, MTCR membership will give India both access and procurement capabilities to some of the world’s most advanced missile technology. Among the specific defence programmes India is expected to benefit from are acquisition of armed drones through technology transfer from the US, and export of India’s supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, which India jointly developed with Russia. Furthermore, just a day following the Monday deadline that marked India’s membership a ‘done deal’, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama were reported to have discussed ramping up defence cooperation and military technology sharing.
India’s admission to the MTCR is likely to bolster its credentials and international support for India’s pending membership request to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group, although the NSG entry process is separate. Problematically for India, though, China will probably wield its veto to stop India’s entry to the NSG ‘nuclear club’. An NSG seat, if attained, would also not only further enhance India’s geopolitical clout but expand its already robust nuclear technology capabilities.