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India joins international missile export control body

India has been admitted to the MTCR in a move seen as further legitimizing its nuclear energy and missile programs. But it is still pushing to join other such regimes regulating nuclear and arms exports and technologies.

India on Monday gained admission to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a group that is aimed at preventing the unchecked proliferation of missiles and their delivery systems.

Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar signed the accession document in the Indian capital, New Delhi, in the presence of the ambassadors of France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry thanked the other 34 members of the MTCR for backing its inclusion in the group.

"India's entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives," the statement said.

Seeking legitimation

India's admission to the MTCR comes just days after it

failed to gain enough support to join another group controlling the export of nuclear materials,

the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This failure was largely down to the stiff opposition of China, which is not a member of MTCR.

India however said it would not be deterred from trying to gain admission to the NSG, as it continues its bid to receive international acceptance for its nuclear energy and missile programs after alarming the international community with atomic tests in 1998.

Membership of the MTCR will now make it possible for India to buy high-end missile technology.

A landmark civil

nuclear deal with the United States

signed in 2008 already gave India some access to nuclear materials and technologies.

The MTCR restricts the proliferation of missiles, rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, or drones, and technology for systems capable of carrying a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) payload for at least 300 kilometers (185 miles), as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

tj/kl (AP, PTI)

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