Our pride, neighbour’s envy. India has recently become a part of the elite club, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). A proud moment for India, the MTCR inclusion must have surely caused ‘Burnol’ moments for India’s next-door neighbours, China and Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry recently said that China acted upon its “principled stance” in opposing Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The MTCR inclusion came close in the heels of India’s rejection from the NSG due to stiff opposition from China, Russia, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey.
In an interview to the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), the Pakistani minister hailed China as their “all-time friend”. The classic example of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. Ironically, the minister was quite keen to pursue Pakistan’s entry into NSG membership as “we think that we are a responsible nuclear state”.
Double standards, much?
India’s 1998 atomic tests had alarmed the international community. Being an MTCR member, India can legitimise its nuclear energy and missile programs now, and also buy high-end missile technology.
India’s entry into MTCR was not easy. Last year, Italy had opposed India’s participation because it was peeved that India held two of their marines for murdering two fishermen in 2012. With the release of the two marines, the Italians softened their opposition this year.
Interestingly, India and Pakistan are the two non-NPT states aspiring for the membership of the 48-member international nuclear trade league. And it’s funny that China so concerned about ‘principles’, is backing Pakistan’s bid into NSG, a known proliferator.
India’s entry into MTCR is good enough to make China and Pakistan envious, for the move will pave the way for increased defence trade and technology transfer between India and the US. Also, it would brighten India’s chances to get membership into NSG soon.
To add salt to the wounds of China and Pakistan, India also clinched another first. The first carriage flight of Su-30 MKI aircraft with BrahMos missile was successfully undertaken in Nashik last week. This integration makes the fighter aircraft a deadly weapon delivery platform for the Indian Air Force. A feat for the IAF, in world’s first, a heavyweight (2,500 kg) supersonic cruise missile has been integrated on a fighter aircraft.
While India takes pride in the recent developments its neighbours can drown in sea of envy.