New Delhi, Nov. 16: India has refused to be a party to the International Code of Conduct against ballistic missile programmes.
Delhi sees the code as yet another political document that not only perpetuates the existing technology denial regimes but is also likely to interfere with the peaceful use of India’s space programme. Consenting countries will sign the code at The Hague, in the Netherlands, on November 25 and 26.
India has, however, made it clear that despite its differences on the proposed code of conduct it will continue to behave as a mature and responsible nation.
“While India cannot subscribe to the ICOC, we remain predisposed to work with like-minded countries towards a more inclusive, balanced and equitable approach to deal with the threat posed by proliferation of ballistic missiles,” foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.
India’s position, he argued, “will in no way detract from its resolve to pursue responsible and co-operative policies to curb proliferation of ballistic missile technology”.
At the outset, the initiative seemed a fresh and serious attempt to prevent clandestine transfer of missile and nuclear technology. It began with the 39 members of the Missile Technology Control Regime and was later taken up by the European Union. India is not a signatory to the MTCR, which it considers a technology denial regime.
The MTCR comprises all the recognised nuclear powers in the world — barring China — and is extremely reluctant to give access to missile technology to those in the developing world. What is worse, the so-called control has proved totally ineffective in checking clandestine transfer of missile and nuclear technology in South Asia, thereby affecting India’s security environment.
Despite the denial of access, India has been able to develop not only its missile programme but is also the only sixth geo-stationary power in the world. Which means it is among the few with the ability to launch their own satellite and carry out a space programme for peaceful uses.
The clandestine transfer of missile and technology between China, Pakistan and North Korea over the past many years has been a major security threat for India. In the wake of fresh media reports in the West about possible secret missile and nuclear technology transfer between North Korea and Pakistan, Delhi felt the code of conduct would be effective in preventing such transfers through “greater transparency and inclusive multi-lateralism”. It also participated in two meetings in Paris and Madrid.