Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement is a body responsible to contribute to the security and stability at the regional and international level by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in the transfer of dual-use good and technologies and conventional arms. It is one among the International grouping responsible for the export and transfer of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and equipment.

The Arrangement is seen as a successor to the former Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). COCOM was terminated by its members due to its drawbacks in export control methodology and ceased to exist in 1994.  

The participant countries are responsible to ensure that the National policies for the transfer of any such product are carried out peacefully and does not harm any other Country or its citizens. A total of 42 countries are a member of this Arrangement and India is one of them.

This is a very important topic for candidates preparing for the upcoming UPSC 2021 exam and will help candidates know more about the security and protection of the nation from nuclear and bio-chemical weapons. 

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Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 9 April 2020

Wassenaar Arrangement: Its Objectives & Members

The Wassenaar Arrangement was established in the year 1996. The founding document of the Wassenaar Arrangement is also known as Initial Elements. Certain important elements that contribute to the Wassenaar Arrangement’s Approach include Control Lists, Procedures for the General Information Exchange, Procedures for the exchange of Information of arms, meetings and administration, participation, Procedures for the Exchange of Information on Dual-Use Goods and Technology and confidentiality. 

The Wassenaar Arrangement was introduced keeping in mind certain objectives. Given below are the objectives of the Wassenaar Arrangement:

  1. It contributes to the National and International security and stability
  2. It controls export in order to combat terrorism
  3. It promotes transparency in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use technologies and equipment
  4. Reinforces the export control regimes for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction
  5. It is not directed to any State or group of states

Apart from the Wassenaar Arrangement, there are other international bodies responsible for the management, export and transfer of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, equipment and technologies:

  1. Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  2. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
  3. Australia Group 
  4. Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

There are 42 members in the Wassenaar Arrangement and given below is the list of members of the Arrangement:

Wassenaar Arrangement Members
Argentina Australia Austria Belgium
Bulgaria Canada Croatia Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia Finland France
Germany Greece Hungary India
Ireland Italy Japan Latvia
Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Mexico
Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland
Portugal Republic of Korea Romania Russian Federation
Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain
Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine
United Kingdom United States

Candidates preparing for the IAS exam can visit the linked article for more details. 

Wassenaar Arrangement and India

The Civil nuclear deal with the US resulted in India’s participation in various nuclear and biochemical deals. It was in 2017 that India became a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement. India’s membership in the Arrangement will help India address the demands of Indian space and defence sector. 

The participation in the Wassenaar Arrangement has opened doors for India to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which India has been persistently trying to join. High technology tie-ups will also see a boost with respect to the increased defence programmes. Also, becoming a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement may prove beneficial for India, since China is not one of the members of WA. India is now in the wake of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group as it would uplift its position in the world in terms of nuclear power, technology and becoming a global power. 

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