Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington at President Obama’s invitation this week will likely result in an announcement of India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), sources in Washington and New Delhi are indicating. Joining MTCR would significantly boost realisation of India’s ambition to acquire an undisclosed number of PREDATOR remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), sources suggest. It would also significantly assist Indian attempts to export its own high tech missiles to friendly nations.
Created in 1987, the MTCR is a voluntary agreement whose 34 signatories undertake to limit the proliferation of ballistic and unmanned delivery systems that could potentially be used for nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. India has been one of five countries that are Unilateral Adherents to MTCR since 2008. However, the fact that decision making within MTCR is based on consensus has created obstacles to India’s potential membership, with some members offering strong opposition. The Obama administration has provided strong backing for India’s application, which has been bolstered in the last few days by New Delhi announcing it will subscribe to The Hague Code of Conduct on Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
The US is also supporting India’s membership of three additional export control regimes: the Australia Group, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Following the anticipated announcement, the US and India are expected to fast-track discussions on the Indian military’s potential acquisition of PREDATOR.