India Tries to Legitimize Nuclear Program Through Arms Control

India Tries to Legitimize Nuclear Program Through Arms Control
Indian army mobile autonomous launchers with BrahMos cruise missiles, Feb. 7, 2014 (photo by Wikimedia user anir1uph licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Last month, India formally applied to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and it hopes to become a full member of the group by the end of this year. In an email interview, Dinshaw Mistry, professor of political science and Asian studies at the University of Cincinnati, discussed the impact of MTCR membership on India’s missile program.

WPR: What impact will joining the Missile Technology Control Regime have on India's missile programs, in terms of any changes and limitations New Delhi has had or will have to implement?

Dinshaw Mistry: The MTCR requires its members to control the transfer—to both members and nonmembers—of missiles and missile-relevant technology. This includes industrial technology such as electronics for missile-guidance systems, chemicals used in missile-propulsion systems and certain types of steel for missile airframes. India was denied such technology by MTCR members because of its nuclear weapons program and has indigenously developed these technologies. It is therefore not reliant on technology imports for its missile program. Thus, India’s membership in the MTCR will not change this status quo—MTCR members will still generally deny missile-relevant technology to India because such technology could be used in India’s nuclear missiles, and India does not really need technology imports for its missiles.

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