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India Joins Australia Group Export Control Regime

Published on January 21, 2018
On 19 January 2018 India formally became the 43rd member of the Australia Group (AG), the cooperative and voluntary group of countries working to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terrorist groups.
India Joins Australia Group Export Control Regime
  • The number of countries participating in the AG has increased from 15 in 1985 to 41, plus the European Union.
  • India is first South Asian nation to become its full-time member of Australia Group.
  • It will also help to strengthen India’s bid to enter 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • The NSG is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade in fissile materials and technologies.
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is the only group where India has not found its place as it has been time and again blocked by China.
  • India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016 and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) last year.
  • Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries that regulates trade in sensitive equipment and technologies to ensure there is no proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying payloads above 500kg for more than 300km. 
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is a multilateral export control regime.
  • India is backed by the US and a number of western countries and has garnered the support of a majority of the group's members. However, China has stuck to its stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India's entry difficult as the group is guided by the consensus principle.
  • India is not a signatory to the NPT and maintains that the pact is discriminatory.

Australia Group

  • The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) established in 1985.
  • It is an informal group of countries that help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons.
  • Coordination among participant countries of Australia Group helps them to fulfil their obligations under Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible.
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