- India set to become member of the Missile Technology Control Regime
- An Obama administration official says India will get access to 99 per cent of the latest US defence technology
- India’s Defense Acquisition Council also approves purchase of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzer guns for $750 million from the US
Despite failure of its ambitious bid to become a part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India is all set to become a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) next week, one of the four export control regimes of which Delhi has been aspiring to become a member. Meanwhile, a senior Obama administration official has said that India will be the only country outside US’ formal treaty allies that will gain access to almost 99 per cent of the latest America’s defence technologies after being recognised as a ‘Major Defence Partner’.
India’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has also approved purchase of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzer guns for $750 million from US and also cleared bulk production of 18 Dhanush guns among 19 proposals included in the discussions during the meeting Saturday.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is all set to sign the instrument of accession into the MTCR, which could happen as early as Monday, in a ceremony to be attended by the MTCR chair troika — envoys from France, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The MTCR chair troika comprises the past, incumbent and future chair of the group.
MEMBERSHIP OF MTCR:
“Membership of one export control regime can be reinforcing on others; since India’s credentials are vetted in one, the remaining three can follow the example,” said an Indian official.
India’s efforts to become a member of the MTCR began after the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008. New Delhi has been keen to become a member of the four export control regimes — MTCR, NSG, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. But with the nuclear deal stuck over liability issues, New Delhi’s bid to become a member of the MTCR only gained momentum from April 2015, after the liability issue was resolved and the US lent its full support.
The members of this international non-proliferation regime agreed to admit India early this month, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
Admission to the MTCR will open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology, also making more realistic its aspiration to buy surveillance drones such as the Predator, made by General Atomics.
After becoming a member of the MTCR, India can hold the key to blocking China’s membership in the future — a leverage, many feel, could be used to get Beijing to lift its objections to India’s membership to the NSG.
Established in April 1987 by G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain and the US), the MTCR is an informal and voluntary partnership to prevent proliferation of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying a 500-kg payload over 300 km or more.
DAC CLEARS PURCHASE OF HOWITZERS GUNS WORTH $750 MILLION FROM US:
India’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved purchase of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzer guns for $750 million from US and also cleared bulk production of 18 Dhanush guns among 19 proposals in a meeting on Saturday.
According to reports, DAC reviewed large numbers of ongoing schemes worth approximately INR 28,000 crore ($4.1 billion). The DAC noted satisfactory progress in the indigenous manufacture of Dhanush guns. The council has agreed on three guns for user exploitation by June 30 and three more by September end.
The DAC approved bulk production clearance of 18 guns Dhanush to enable better exploitation and setting up of indigenous manufacturing facility.
It also reviewed procurement case of SR-SAM and Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) guns. It was decided to keep the ongoing acquisition process in a multivendor situation.
The DAC approved Rs 386 crore ($56 million) project for mode of shipyard at the navy dockyards indigenously.
It approved six next generation missile vessels at Rs 13,600 crore ($2 billion) and five diving support craft indigenous at Rs 150 crore ($22 million).
The council approved project stimulators at Rs 500 crores ($73 million) for and also setting up of integrated electronic warfare range at Rs 1,300 crore ($191 million).
INDIA TO GET ACCESS TO ALMOST 99% OF US DEFENCE TECHNOLOGIES:
India is set to become the only country outside the US’ formal treaty allies that will gain access to almost 99 per cent of the latest America’s defence technologies after being recognised as a ‘Major Defence Partner’, a senior Obama administration official has said.
“India now enjoys access to (defence) technologies that is on par with our treaty allies. That is a very unique status. India is the only other country that enjoys that status outside our formal treaty allies,” the official told Indian media explaining what ‘Major Defence Partner’ status means for India.
Earlier this month, after a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, the US, in a joint statement, recognised India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’.
“We were looking for something unique. This language you would not find in any arms transfer legislation or any of our existing policies. This is new guidance and new language that is intended to reflect the unique things that we have done with India under our defence partnership,” the senior administration official said.
Under this recognition India will receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that New Delhi has committed to take to advance its export control objectives. Acknowledging that the impression in New Delhi is that India is not getting access to the kind of technology it needs from the US, the official said it is a constant source of discussion.
“(In reality), less than one per cent of all exports (requests) are denied (to India). They are not denied because of India. They are denied because of global US licensing policies. We do not share certain technologies with anybody in the world,” the official asserted.
The perception in India that the denial of such technologies is reflective of India-US relationship is far from the truth, the official said.