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Context: External Affairs Ministry says India to assume chairmanship of Wassenaar arrangement on 1 Jan 2023
What is Wassenaar Arrangement?
- The Wassenaar Arrangement is an elite club of countries which subscribe to arms export controls, similar to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
- The body came into being in 1996 to succeed the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls.
- The name comes from Wassenaar, a suburb of The Hague, where the agreement to start such a multi-lateral cooperation was reached in 1995.]
Who are all members of the Wassenaar Arrangement?
- The WA has 42 members, the latest entrant being India.
- With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of the WA, which is headquartered in Vienna.
How does the Wassenaar Arrangement work?
- According to the WA website, the goal of the Arrangement is to "promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies".
- Participants are required to "ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine the goal".
- The aim, according to WA, is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.
- The Arrangement works according to what it calls WA Control Lists. The controls are subject to ratification by the participants.
- WA members agree to exchange information on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies and report on such transfers and denials of controlled items to non-participants.
- Critics see WA simply as a Cold War instrument with a different name. According to them Arrangement perpetuates a digital divide by restricting western companies and governments from supplying crucial technologies to emerging markets.