Indian Prime Minister Modi has made membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which I helped create, an issue in his meeting with Obama. While the MTCR has gotten some Indian press play, it has not been an issue in the US press. According to the Indian press, Obama supports Indian membership in both the MTCR and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Inida is not an ideal candidate for either group, since it maintains a nuclear weapons program. I do not approve of the Bush II administration’s decision to give India’s nuclear weapons program a pass, rather than require India to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as I said in commenting that Trump’s proposal to allow Japan and South Korea to have nuclear weapons was not as bad as Bush’s allowing India to have nuclear weapons.
Bush’s decision and Obama’s support for India are understandable in the global power context. India, which used to be a Russian satellite, is now a rival to China. We want to strengthen India as a counter to China’s power, which is more threatening to the US. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that this is the best way to do it. India’s argument is that it is a late-blooming nuclear power, and therefore should be treated like the older nuclear powers, the US, UK, Russia, etc., which have separate provisions in the NPT allowing them to keep their weapons. I think this undermines the whole non-proliferation regime. If we do this for India, once North Korea has a full fledged nuclear program, why shouldn’t it be granted NPT nuclear status, just as India has?
This article from the Indian Express is a pretty good summary of where things stand.
Here are some other recent articles about the MTCR: