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India joins Missile Technology Control Regime : MTCR Benifits

India on 27 june 2016 joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as a full member and said its entry would be mutually beneficial to enhance global non-proliferation norms. Marking India’s first entry into any multilateral export control regime, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to MTCR in the presence of France’s Ambassador-designate Alexandre Ziegler, The Netherlands’ Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and Luxembourg’s Chargé d’Affaires Laure Huberty.

“India has joined the MTCR this morning…India’s entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives,” External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

As India becomes the 35th member of the MTCR, here are seven things that you should know:

» Benefit to ISRO: During the cold war years, Russia denied cryogenic technology to India. However, in a welcome change ISRO will now have access to restricted high-end technologies for developing its cryogenic engines in order to enhance space exploration.

» Sale of BrahMos: India will be able to sell the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos to Vietnam and other countries in a development that would make India a significant arms exporter.

» Procurement of Israel’s Arrow II missile: MTCR aims at restricting the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. In its bid to develop indigenous Ballistic Missile System, India wanted to procure Arrow II theatre missile defence interceptor from Israel but was denied due to the MTCR sanctions. The newly-forged membership will help India in the procurement of Arrow II, which will further help India defend itself against Pakistani or Chinese ballistic missiles.

» Buying surveillance drones: India will be able to buy surveillance drones from other countries like the American Predator drones (e.g. the Avenger drone). The US might also consider exporting UAVs, Reaper and Global Hawk, which have been key to counter-terrorism efforts in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

» Boost to Make in India: Indian technology that will be developed or made under the flagship of Make in India will see free movement out of the country, which in turn will contribute to the success of the programme.

» Step closer to NSG: The accession to MTCR is one step closer to India’s membership to the 48-member NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group). It also gives India a chance to engage with other global non-proliferation players.

» One-upping China: Significantly, China, which opposed India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of 34-nation MTCR.

MTCR benefit: India, Russia to develop 600-km range cruise missiles that can cover entire Pakistan (ET)
India’s offensive capacity, especially against Pakistan, is set to take a huge step forward with New Delhi and Moscow deciding to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 600 km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. This range enables these missiles to strike anywhere within Pakistan. That Russia can work with India to produce these missiles is thanks to New Delhi joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June this year.

MTCR guidelines prohibit its members from transfer, sale or joint production of missiles beyond 300-km range with countries outside the club. Brahmos’ current range is 300 km, which makes it difficult to hit targets deep inside Pakistan. India has ballistic missiles with longer range than the next generation Brahmos. But Brahmos’ ability to take down specific targets, even well-protected ones, makes it a potential game changer in any conflict with Pakistan. Ballistic missiles are powered for the initial half of their flight path and they use gravity to complete their trajectory. But cruise missiles are powered throughout.

This makes a cruise missile like Brahmos similar to a pilot-less fighter jet that can be maneuvered in flight, programmed to attack targets from any angle and evade enemy missile defence systems. Brahmos can, for example, take down terror camps or hideouts even in mountain areas, where natural protection makes any other offensive action, bar crossing the border, ineffective.

Vladimir Putin told journalists from his country that the missile deal has also been signed. “We have also agreed to improve the Brahmos missile, which will be land, air and sea launched. We will also work to increase its range. And we will work together on a fifth-generation aircraft,” Putin said, without sharing details.

several senior Indian officials involved in negotiations confirmed that a pact to double the range of the Brahmos missile was finalised. These officials spoke on the condition they not be identified. They also said producing longer-range Brahmos will not be tough because no fundamental reworking is involved in increasing the range. India, post its MTCR membership, is also pursuing export options for its 300-km range Brahmos. Vietnam has expressed interest in the missile system.

MTCR Explained –

MTCR – The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal political understanding among states that seek to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology. The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States).

MTCR members – 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.


Purpose of the MTCR – The MTCR was initiated by like-minded countries to address the increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons by addressing the most destabilizing delivery system for such weapons. In 1992, the MTCR’s original focus on missiles for nuclear weapons delivery was extended to a focus on the proliferation of missiles for the delivery of all types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), i.e., nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Such proliferation has been identified as a threat to international peace and security. One way to counter this threat is to maintain vigilance over the transfer of missile equipment, material, and related technologies usable for systems capable of delivering WMD.

Relationship between the MTCR and the UN – While there is no formal linkage, the activities of the MTCR are consistent with the UN’s non-proliferation and export control efforts. For example, applying the MTCR Guidelines and Annex on a national basis helps countries to meet their export control obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

Main objectives of the MTCR – The MTCR seeks to limit the risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by controlling exports of goods and technologies that could make a contribution to delivery systems (other than manned aircraft) for such weapons. In this context, the Regime places particular focus on rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km and on equipment, software, and technology for such systems.

MTCR Guidelines – The MTCR Guidelines are the common export control policy adhered to by the MTCR Partners, and to which all countries are encouraged to adhere unilaterally. The Guidelines define the purpose of the MTCR and provide the overall structure and rules to guide the member countries and those adhering unilaterally to the Guidelines.

The MTCR Annex – The MTCR Annex is the Regime’s list of controlled items including virtually all key equipment, materials, software, and technology needed for missile development, production, and operation – that are controlled by MTCR Partners and adherents. The Annex is divided into two parts: Category I and Category II items. Consistent with the MTCR Guidelines, MTCR Partners and adherents are to implement license authorization requirements prior to export of items listed in the MTCR Annex. In 2003, MTCR Partners amended the Guidelines to require all Partners to have catch-all export controls. These controls form the basis for controlling the export of items not included on a control list when they may be intended for use in connection with delivery systems for WMD other than manned aircraft. Additionally, consistent with the Guidelines, Partners are to exercise particular restraint in consideration of any items on the Annex or of any missiles (whether or not on the Annex) if the exporting government judges that they are intended to be used for WMD delivery – and such exports are to be subject to a strong presumption of denial.

Difference between MTCR Category I and Category II Items – Category I items include complete rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle systems (including ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles, sounding rockets, cruise missiles, target drones, and reconnaissance drones), capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km, their major complete subsystems (such as rocket stages, engines, guidance sets, and re-entry vehicles), and related software and technology, as well as specially designed production facilities for these items. Pursuant to the MTCR Guidelines, exports of Category I items are subject to an unconditional strong presumption of denial regardless of the purpose of the export and are licensed for export only on rare occasions. Additionally, exports of production facilities for Category I items are prohibited absolutely.

Category II items include other less-sensitive and dual-use missile related components, as well as other complete missile systems capable of a range of at least 300 km, regardless of payload. Their export is subject to licensing requirements taking into consideration the non-proliferation factors specified in the MTCR Guidelines. Exports judged by the exporting country to be intended for use in WMD delivery are to be subjected to a strong presumption of denial.

The MTCR Guidelines do not distinguish between exports to Partners and exports to non-Partners. Moreover, the MTCR Partners have explicitly affirmed that membership in the Regime provides no entitlement to obtain technology from another Partner and no obligation to supply it. Partners are expected to exercise appropriate accountability and restraint in trade among Partners, just as they would in trade between Partners and non-Partners. Partners are bound by a “no-undercut” policy to consult each other before considering exporting an item on the list that has been notified as denied by another Partner pursuant to the MTCR Guidelines.

Benefits to Partners becoming members of the MTCR – Partners can play an active role in curbing the global missile non-proliferation threat. MTCR Partners participate in decision-making on the orientation and future of the MTCR, thereby setting the international standard for responsible missile non-proliferation behaviour and helping to guide the international missile non-proliferation effort. Partners also benefit from discussions and exchanges of information on licensing, interdiction, best practices, and cooperate to impede specific shipments of concern with regards to missile proliferation.

Central administrative body for the MTCR – The MTCR has no formal secretariat. France serves as the Regime’s Point of Contact (POC). The POC receives and distributes all Regime documents. The POC also participates in outreach activities and hosts intersessional meetings. The RPOC is the MTCR’s intersessional policy-level meeting. It is hosted by France and is normally held in Paris in April or May. RPOC meetings are used primarily to follow up on issues from the previous Plenary and plan for the next Plenary. POC meetings facilitate the exchange of information among Partners. They are regularly held in Paris, hosted by the French MTCR POC, and include the participation of Embassy Representatives of MTCR countries. The MTCR Chairmanship rotates on an ad hoc basis. Normally the country that hosts the Plenary then serves as Chair for the ensuing year.

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