Missile Technology Control Regime is an important topic that is asked in CDS, AFCAT, and other defence exams. It is also commonly asked in the SSB Interview.
Why it is in the news?
U.S. eases export restrictions on unmanned drones (UAV) Under MTCR, with the new speed limit of 800 km/hr. It will benefit India to acquire proven Predator-B armed and Global Hawk surveillance drones from the U.S. The two top of line drones have speeds less than 800 km/hr. The armed drones will also be available to other US allies like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt who have acquired the Chinese armed drones.
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
MTCR is a multilateral, informal and voluntary partnership-based grouping of 35 member countries committed to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for weapons-related to chemical, biological and nuclear of above 500kg for more than 300 km.
It aims to prevent the proliferation of missile/UAVs capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
Some of the important facts about MTCR:
- It was formed in 1987 by the G-7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States).
- 35 full members, India is the latest member in 2016 and 4 ‘non-adherent member’-Israel, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia.
- China is not a member.
- It is not a legally binding treaty.
- MTCR Chairmanship- rotates on an ad hoc basis. Usually, the country that hosts the meeting serves as a chair for that particular year.
- MTCR decisions including decisions on membership require consensus by all current members.
- It is supplemented by the Hague code of conduct (HCOC).
Note: HCOC also known as International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation established in 2002 to stop or shut out the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
It only calls for restraint in their production, testing and export not completely ban on ballistic missiles. It works parallel to the MTCR with less specific restriction but with greater membership.
How does MTCR work for its objectives?
- Export controls by applying common guidelines to a common list of items like equipment, software and technology.
- MTCR partners regularly meet to interchange information about non-proliferation issue according to their objectives.
- They undertake outreach activities to non-partner countries in order to keep them informed about the activities of group and aid prevent the proliferation of missiles.
- It has contributed to curbing the nuclear programmes of some countries.
- Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan withdrew their missiles of space launch vehicle program.
- It played a major role in preventing Libyan and Syrian missile efforts.
- Argentina dropped its missile program “Condor II” with Egypt and Iran.
- Poland and the Czech Republic dropped their Ballistic missile in order to join the regime.
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- As it is not a legally binding treaty so, no punitive measure could be taken against non-compliance of guidelines.
- Countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Iran having a missile system which can provide missiles of mass destruction are non-adherent to the regime.
- Some of them are exploring long-range intercontinental missiles and they are also sellers in the arms market.
- With technology advancement, it is possible to adapt and develop the existing missiles with a range as mentioned in guidelines (300km and less than 500kg)
- The USA bent some rules to give concessions to some countries in order to join them in regime-
- Ukraine was permitted to maintain its Scud missiles regardless of the rule of destroying ballistic missiles.
- It allowed South Korea to develop ballistic missiles of the range 800kms with a 500kg payload.
Significance of India’s MTCR membership:
- India became its member in June 2016. India has been allowed to have its ballistic missiles able to deliver 500kgs payload with a range of 300kms
- It will make India’s position as a responsible nuclear state and strengthen its membership for other export control regimes like Nuclear supplier group, Australia Group, and Wassenaar arrangements.
- It will boost India’s defence- India can buy high-end missile technology and also enhance joint ventures with Russia.
- Procurement of Category I UAV’s, Reaper and Global Hawk from the USA that is used in counterterrorism efforts.
- India can sell its missiles with other non-member countries easily, for example, supersonic cruise missile and BrahMos to Vietnam.
- ISRO can access the forbidden cryogenic technology from Russia required for space exploration operations.
- MTCR membership can be used as a stronghold against China which is not a full member of the regime and aspiring to be on because it has blocked India’s way to NSG.
The obligation for India:
- Its membership does not guarantee any special technological entitlement from other members or adherent countries.
- It is unlikely to give an immediate effect to the export of the India missiles.
- India will have some commitments like sharing critical information about its military and technological things, consulting other member countries regarding the export of MTCR items.
- India needs to change or alter its export policy as per the MTCR guidelines which can be restrictor than existing ones and will affect the stakeholders.
As a member of the MTCR regime, it will give away for increased trade in defence and technology transfer. India’s own technology made or developed under “Made in India” will see movements outside the country and will boost the development.
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