International Relations

EU Sanctions Indian Tech Firm for Dual-Use Items

  • The EU has sanctioned Si2 Microsystems, an Indian technology business, for its connections to Russia.
  • It has already faced restrictions, including a ban by the US on transferring “dual-use” technology. 

What are dual-use items?

  • Definition: Dual-use products are commodities that can be used in both civilian and military applications.
  • Regulatory Scrutiny: Because these devices can be initially created for civilian reasons but later repurposed for military or even terrorist activity, they are subject to strict supervision.
  • Examples: Dual-use items include global positioning satellites, missiles, nuclear technologies, chemical and biological weapons, night vision equipment, drones, precision-engineered aluminium pipes, and some types of ball bearings.

Global Control Mechanisms for Dual-Use Items

(1) Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR):

  • Established in 1987 by the G-7 countries.
  • Goal: To inhibit the spread of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass devastation.
  • Membership consists of 35 member countries.
  • Guidelines: Members collaborate on national export regulations to prevent missile proliferation.
  • India’s Membership: India joined as the 35th member in 2016. 

(2) Wassenaar Arrangement (WA):

  • Established: in 1996, with 42 participant states.
  • Purpose: To prevent destabilising accumulations of conventional armaments, dual-use items, and technologies.
  • Export Controls: To prevent the development of military capabilities, member countries impose controls on the items mentioned below.
  • India is not a member, but it has shown an interest in joining to improve its export controls and nonproliferation activities.

(3) Australia Group (AG):

  • The formation was prompted by Iraq’s deployment of chemical weapons in 1985.
  • The focus was initially on chemical weapons precursor compounds, but it has since evolved to encompass biological weapon avoidance.
  • Membership consists of 42 member countries. India is not a member.
  • The goal is to harmonise international export regulations for chemical and biological technologies. 

(4) Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG):

  • Established in 1974 as a response to India’s nuclear testing.
  • Control nuclear and nuclear-related technology in order to prevent proliferation.
  • Membership consists of 48 participating governments.
  • Guidelines: The goal is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons through control mechanisms.

[Note: India is also a signatory to significant accords including the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BWC).]

India’s internal mechanisms against dual-use items

  • The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in India regulates dual-use commodities through the SCOMET list (Specialty Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies).
  • SCOMET List: SCOMET products include unique chemicals, organisms, materials, equipment, and technologies that have dual-use potential.
  • Regulatory Framework: Exporting SCOMET goods is subject to severe rules, which may need a licence or be restricted entirely.
  • Alignment with International Controls: The SCOMET control list is consistent with control lists from other international export control regimes and treaties. 

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