India on 19 January 2018 joined the Australia Group export control regime, an informal forum that seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
India has become the 43rd member of the group. The inclusion is expected to raise India's stature in the field of non-proliferation and help in acquiring critical technologies.
About the Australia Group
It is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
Coordination of national export control measures assists Australia Group participants to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible.
India is the latest entrant into the group. It is also the first South Asian nation to become its full-time member.
India's entry into the export control regime will enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation, although, India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It is also expected to strengthen India’s bid to enter the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Significantly, China, which stalled India’s entry into the 48-member NSG, is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, MTCR as well as the Australia Group.
• Ever since India signed the Civil Nuclear Deal with the US, it has been trying to get into multilateral export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
• India was previously inducted as the 42nd member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, a key multilateral export control regime, on 7 December 2017.
• Before that in June 2016, India got admitted as a full-time member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
• These multilateral export control regimes regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and technologies.