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India Chairs Wassenaar Arrangement

India assumed the chairmanship of the Wassenaar Arrangement from Ireland on January 1, 2023. The Wassenaar Arrangement is a 42-member voluntary export control regime established in 1996 to exchange information on the transfer of conventional weapons, and dual-use goods and technologies.

India is actively engaging on international platforms for its anti-terrorism stance, and the chairmanship would help the South Asian nation bolster anti-terrorism efforts, prevent arm diversions through State and Non-State actors, and strengthen the anti-proliferation framework.

Furthermore, the competitive nature of Geopolitics often reflects on the adversarial arms buildup by countries. Due to increasing threats of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, many states emphatically reaffirmed their rule-based international order.

Thus, various Multilateral Export Control Regimes were created, such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group, and Missile Technology Regime. These regimes play an instrumental role in counter-terrorism measures.

There are also inevitable disagreements over licensing and user controls often steered by national interests. For instance, India-Russia nuclear technology exchange is recognised as opposition to NSG guidelines.

India’s Chairmanship of the Wassenaar Arrangement is significant, keeping in mind the recent spurt in activity and investments in defence and space sector. As India will hold the chair for a year, New Delhi is expected to play an important role in democratising access to processes and technologies, which are likely to play a critical role for the emerging space and defence manufacturers in the country. Experts are of the opinion that the chairmanship will also help establish India as a responsible stakeholder, as far as the global non-proliferation architecture is concerned.

It may be noted that Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held a meeting with the Director General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi to discuss various aspects of India’s chairmanship during his recent visit to Austria. The secretariat of Wassenaar Arrangement is located in the Austrian capital.

Source: The Geostrata (Instagram)

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