The Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov, on Thursday, sounded confident of India’s chances of getting the membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement. “If everything goes as expected, I keep my fingers crossed on Thursday we may see a decision of accepting India into the Wassenaar Arrangement, which is also very important export control regime,” asserted Ryabkov. It is also notable that earlier this year, India approved SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies) items, mandatory under the Wassenaar Arrangement. The two big questions that arise from the above are — what exactly is Wassenaar arrangement and why has India been trying this hard to be a Wassenaar arrangement member.
Well, the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, commonly known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, is a multilateral export control regime established to ensure regional and international security and stability promoting transparency in transfer of arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The participating nations make sure that the export of ammunition does not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities undermining regional security. In order to achieve the aim of stable defence deals, the participatory nations apply export controls to all items listed in the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and the Munitions List.
Membership in Wassenaar is crucial for India as it will give the nation a chance for a closer interaction with its 41 member states despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India is making striding efforts to join the Wassenaar Arrangement and other export control regimes like the Australia Group and NSG to find space that would allow the nation to contribute to global non-proliferation efforts actively. An entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement can also help strengthen India’s non-proliferation credentials and advocate India’s plea to join the 48-member NSG stronger.
Further, since India has low reserves of uranium required for its civil nuclear energy programmes, the country entry to the Export Control regimes will help secure the supply of nuclear fuel more easily. India also became a member of the 35-member MTCR last year through which India can potentially gain access to missile and drone technology.