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Wassenaar Arrangement and Wassenaar Agreement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) (other MECR NSG, Australia Group, and Missile technology control regime). It is the successor to the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). The Wassenaar Arrangement is considerably less strict than COCOM, focusing primarily on the transparency of national export control regimes and not granting veto power to individual members over organizational decisions.
Dual-use of technology can be used for both peaceful and military aims. Russia and the US had spent billions of dollars developing rocket technology which could take humans to space. This paralleled the development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Technology. In every six months, member countries exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms to non-Wassenaar members that fall under 8 broad weapons categories: battle tanks, large-caliber artillery, armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), military aircraft, warships, missiles or missile systems, military helicopters, and small arms and light weapons.

Secretariat Vienna, Austria
Established 12 July 1996 in Wassenaar (near Hague), the Netherlands
Member Countries 42 states including many former (Warsaw Pact) countries.

Purpose for establishment of Wassenaar arrangement

  • Participating states seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development of military capabilities which weaken these goals and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
  • contributing to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.

India and Wassenaar arrangement

  • India became 42nd member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • After joining the Wassenaar arrangement India will gain access to high technology which will aid to address the demands of its defence & space sectors.
  • Now India can access advanced technology like cryogenic technology which has denied India so far. So, ISRO and DRDO can cooperate and work with other countries' institutions.
  • Wassenaar Arrangement membership is seen as a credit on India’s need for diplomacy in sensitive nuclear issues, compared to the failed attempt to gain entry to the NSG in 2016.
  • India’s WA membership is projected to build up a strong case for India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), however, China still a barrier to India's membership.
  • India’s admittance into the Wassenaar Arrangement will strengthen India’s credentials as a responsible nuclear power.

India is now getting recognition on the global platform that can be seen by recent MTCR entry, International Court of Justice elections, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is a step forward for being recognized as a responsible nuclear power. But whether India can be a part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is still a question due to China’s opposition.


There is a need to differentiate between “Wassenaar Arrangement” and “Wassenaar Agreement”.
Wassenaar Agreement The Wassenaar Agreement was an agreement introduced in 1982 between employers' organizations and labour unions in the Netherlands to control wage growth in return for the adoption of policies:
  • reductions in working hours
  • to combat unemployment and inflation,
  • the expansion of part-time employment.

The agreement has been credited with ending the wage-price spiral of the 1970s, greatly reducing unemployment and producing strong growth in output and employment. The International Labour Organization portrays the Wassenaar as "a pioneering agreement, setting the tone for later social pacts in many European countries".
Wassenaar Arrangement The Wassenaar Arrangement on other hand, is a “Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies” and multilateral export control regime (MECR)