The 23rd Wassenaar Plenary session held in Vienna on December 6-7, chaired by Permanent Representative of France to the UN Jean-Louis Falconi, concluded with the admission of India into the club of Participating States (PSs). This important decision confirmed India’s progress in meeting membership criteria.
The Wassenaar Arrangement has been established in 1996 to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use go ods and technologies. The PSs are the world’s leading producers of advanced military capability, most of whom are industrial and technology partners with the US and its defence industries.
The PSs have agreed to maintain national export controls on items included in the Wassanaar Arrangement control lists (wassenaar. org/). These controls are implemented via national legislation and are guided by agreed-to best practices and guidelines.
All PSs have agreed to report on transfers and denials of specified controlled items to destinations outside the Arrangement, and to exchange information on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. The Wassenaar Arrangement organisation seeks to complement other multilateral control regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Accordingly, it pursues regular technical-level dialogue with these regimes to optimise national expertise and avoid duplication.
By joining Wassenaar, India has joined a global regime of nations that produce advanced capabilities and agree to prevent the transfer of military equipment that they develop and produce to terrorist groups and organisations, as well as to individual terrorists. Most PSs and their domestic industries contribute to the US military-industrial complex as partners with US industries. These partnerships are critical in advancing our development and production of cutting edge capabilities.
Having in place government policies and procedures, such as those agreed to within this regime, enable industrial relationships. India will soon see the benefit of its membership in relation to enhancing its indigenous defence research and manufacturing efforts.
Notably, as a member of the PSs, further progress on the levels of US technology that can be shared with India, and India’s ability to be a significant defence exporter, will be seen. The Government of India should be commended on this transformational development, which can be seen as a crucial building block for to the enhancement of India’s indigenous defence manufacturing goals. US industry looks forward to advancing industrial partnerships with India’s defence sector.
By: Keith Webster, Economic Times
(The writer is Senior Vice President for Aerospace and Defence, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum)