Wassenaar Arrangement plenary starts in Vienna, may admit India

Lester Mason
December 7, 2017

"We recognise that at the moment there is no unanimity on Pakistan's application and that the same can not be interlinked with India's", said Ryabkov, after his meeting with Jaishankar.

The 23rd annual plenary of the Wassenaar Arrangement commenced in Vienna on Wednesday and New Delhi is expecting that the 41-member cartel might take a positive decision on admitting India, sources told DH. "This is an example and reflection of Russia's unwavering support to India's membership of worldwide export control regimes", Ryabkov told journalists. Through the revised list of items, India also seeks to send a message about its larger commitment to non-proliferation. Without naming anyone, Ryabkov said that unlike other countries that only speak of support, Russian Federation takes the first to help and actions speak more than words.

"We want to bring the group back to its roots and make it possible for the group to consider everyone's supporting applications on its merits and this is how it should be done in case of India", he said. India had applied for NSG membership past year, but its bid is primarily being blocked by China, which maintains that the signing Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a prerequisite for entry into the bloc. India is already a member of the Missile Control Technology Regime (MTCR). China has favoured a criteria-based approach for expansion of the 48-member group, which controls worldwide nuclear commerce.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is one of the four export control regimes India has been trying to enter ever since it inked the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with United States in 2008.

According to Indian media reports, the issue came up for discussion on Wednesday as Sergei Ryabkov met Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

On Pakistan's entry to the NSG, Ryabkov said there is no prospect for any "unanimity" with respect to the Pakistani application.

India, he acknowledged, had an impeccable non-proliferation record while Pakistan could not claim the same qualifications for membership of the club that sets the rules for global nuclear commerce.