What is MTCR and how can India benefit from it? All you need to know!

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The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal, voluntary anti-proliferation partnership among 35 countries (including India) to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying a 500 kg payload for at least 300 km. MTCR aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. India had applied for its membership last year and now the member nations have agreed to admit it into the group.

What is MTCR?

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was established in April 1987 by the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal, voluntary anti-proliferation partnership among 35 countries (including India) to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying a 500 kg payload for at least 300 km. MTCR aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. Prohibited materials are divided into two Categories, which are outlined in the MTCR Equipment, Software, and Technology Annex. Membership grown to 35 nations, with 3 additional nations, including Israel, adhering to the MTCR Guidelines unilaterally. 

Since its establishment, the MTCR has been successful in helping to slow or stop several ballistic missile programs, according to the Arms Control Association: “Argentina, Egypt, and Iraq abandoned their joint Condor II ballistic missile program. Brazil, South Africa, and Taiwan also shelved or eliminated missile or space launch vehicle programs. Some Eastern European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, destroyed their ballistic missiles, in part, to better their chances of joining MTCR.” In October 1994, in order to make the enforcement of MTCR Guidelines more uniform, the member states established a “no undercut” policy, meaning if one member denies the sale of some technology to another country, then all members must adhere.

In 2002, the MTCR was supplemented by the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC), also known as the Hague Code of Conduct, which calls for restraint and care in the proliferation of ballistic missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, and has 119 members, thus working parallel to the MTCR with less specific restrictions but with a greater membership. Subscribing to ‘The Hague Code of Conduct’ (HCOC) against ballistic missile proliferation, which is considered to be complementary to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India is going to be the newest member of MTCR with consensus of the current 34 nations.

MTCR-Member-Countries

There are currently 35 countries that are members (Partners) of the MTCR: Argentina (1993); Australia (1990); Austria (1991); Belgium (1990); Brazil (1995); Bulgaria (2004); Canada (1987); Czech Republic (1998); Denmark (1990); Finland (1991); France (1987); Germany (1987); Greece 1992); Hungary (1993); Iceland (1993); India (2016); Ireland (1992); Italy (1987); Japan (1987); Luxemburg (1990); Netherlands (1990); New Zealand (1991); Norway (1990); Poland (1998); Portugal (1992); Republic of Korea (2001); Russian Federation (1995); South Africa (1995); Spain (1990); Sweden (1991); Switzerland (1992); Turkey (1997); Ukraine (1998); United Kingdom (1987); United States of America (1987). The date in brackets represents the initial year of membership. Source

How can India Benefit from MTCR?

1] India’s entry into the MTCR is a step closer to its Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership.
2] The entry into this group will shape the future of India’s engagement with not just the MTCR but also the broader global non-proliferation community.
3] Admission to the MTCR would open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology.
4] After MTCR’s announcement, India and the US are expected to fast-track their discussion on sale of predator series of unmanned aircraft for the Indian military. The Predator drone, which recently eliminated the Taliban leader in Afghanistan, is the preferred tool of the CIA. Membership into MTCR is a huge boost for India’s ability to procure this capability.
5] India also makes a supersonic cruise missile, the Brahmos, in a joint venture with Russia that both hope to sell to third countries. Membership of the rules-based MTCR would require India to comply with rules – such as a maximum missile range of 300 km – that seek to prevent arms races from developing.
6] India is set to discuss the possible sale of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to Vietnam. Vietnam has been keen on acquiring the conventional precision-strike missiles, which fly almost three times the speed of sound, for several years now. But both India and Russia will have to agree to export them to a third country.
7] It will also enhance the level of understanding between MTCR member nations and India, allowing the latter to import technologies for peaceful purposes. Source
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