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Diplomats says India clears final hurdle to join missile control group

The members of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a key anti-proliferation grouping, have agreed to admit India, diplomats said, in a win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he meets President US Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.

The diplomats, with direct knowledge of the matter, said a deadline for the members of the 34-nation group to object to India’s admission had expired on Monday. Under this so-called ‘silent procedure’, India’s admission follows automatically.

The move will boost India’s efforts to purchase Predator drones from the US and export its high-tech missiles to friendly nations.

US President Barack Obama has strongly backed India’s membership into the MTCR and three other export control regime — Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

However, on India becoming a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), where China is openly opposing it, the Obama administration is keeping its fingers crossed for the moment.

“On NSG, there is a process that is still ongoing. I do not think the NSG plenary is not meeting until later in this month. Let’s see how it goes but the US is absolutely, categorically, unreservedly committed to India’s membership in the NSG,” an official of the Obama administration told PTI on condition anonymity.

“The US and India and other friendly countries are working actively together to see that India get there,” he added.

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