India on Monday joined the multilateral export control Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as a full member, days after its attempt to be part of the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) failed thanks to stiff opposition from China and a few other countries. On Monday, foreign secretary S. Jaishankar signed the document of accession into MTCR in the presence of the ambassadors of France, Netherlands and Luxembourg, in New Delhi, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said. India had applied for membership last year and the grouping earlier this month agreed on India’s entry into the bloc with none of the 34 members voicing any objection. Last year, Italy had objected to India’s application, unhappy as it was with New Delhi’s stance over the dispute over the detention of two Italian marines. The two marines, accused of murdering two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, were allowed to return home and Italy has since dropped its objections. China, which last week thwarted India’s entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of the MTCR. Since it concluded its civil nuclear deal with the United States in 2008, India has been trying to get admission into export control regimes such as the NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies. India’s efforts to get into the MTCR also got a boost after it agreed to join the Hague Code of Conduct, dealing with the ballistic missile non-proliferation arrangement, earlier this month. The MTCR membership will enable India to buy sophisticated missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. India is also looking to source drones from the US. The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
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