India joins Hague Code of Conduct, Global ballistic missile anti-proliferation regime

Few days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States and other countries, India announced to join Hague Code of Conduct. Modi is expected to make a case for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) during his visit. India is yet to get its membership approved to MTCR, an export control body of 34 countries.

India has stayed on loop for a long time, but finally joined global ballistic missile anti-proliferation regime. The decision was taken on Thursday but as there were apprehensions that India may have to shelve the Inter Continental long range Agni V and Agni VI programmes, it was made clear that this will not impact the national security and also ongoing missile programmes of the country.

Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, “India has joined the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) against ballistic missile proliferation by notifying the HCoC Central Contact in Vienna through diplomatic channels.” He also said that India’s bid to enter the Missile Technology Control Regime was ‘on track’ and the process to grant the membership is also expected to be completed soon.

He described the HCoC as “voluntary, legally non binding international confidence building and transparency measure that seeks to stop proliferation of ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction”. The HCoC is also a normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles, but like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is no inspection system to assure compliance. He further added that India joining the Code signals our readiness to further strengthen global non-proliferation objectives.

The HCoC was brought into effect on November 25, 2002, at a launching conference which was hosted by the Netherlands in the Hague. Prior to that, it was known as the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

Besides this, the country is also in discussion with other control regimes like that of Wassenaar Arrangement for the membership.

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