India was trying to become part of the arrangement for the last two years, but was blocked by Italy, owing to the dip in bilateral relations.
India has finally joined the multi-nation Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), which monitors and controls the export of arms and dual-use technologies by global powers. India has been trying to become part of the arrangement for the past two years – a step that will unlock exports of sensitive technologies.
India’s efforts had been blocked by Italy – a founder member of the arrangement – given a dip in bilateral ties. However, Italian Prme Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s visit in October led to a thaw, ensuring India becomes the 42nd member of the WA.
What is the Wassenaar Agreement?
Named after a suburb of The Hague where it was finalised in 1995, the multi-national arrangement was set up to regulate the transfer of weapons technologies between nation states. WA aims at establishing an order for regional and international security through a transparent process of conventional arms transfer.
Why is it significant?
The WA’s aim is to ensure that sensitive technologies do not get into the hands of irresponsible nations or non-state actors, like terrorists. All participating nations must ensure that items that can be used for destructive purposes are transferred only after due scrutiny, so that they do not fall into the wrong hands. India will gain from joining WA, as Indian companies will now be able to undertake exports and get a boost in their effort to be a part of the global supply chain on defence products.
How does it operate?
Each state is to have national policies that govern the transfer of dual-use and military items. All nations generate a standard list of items that require special clearances or export controls by the federal government. India drew up this list of items in 2015, as part of its efforts to join WA. The idea is to prevent an unauthorised transfer of all such items. All nations report the arms and dual-technology transfers to the WA every six months.
Who are the other members?
States of the Wassenaar Arrangement include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. India now joins that list.