India became the 43rd member of the Australia Group (AG), the cooperative and voluntary group of countries working to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terrorist groups.
- The number of countries participating in the AG has increased from 15 in 1985 to 41, plus the European Union.
- India is first South Asian nation to become its full-time member of Australia Group.
- It will also help to strengthen India’s bid to enter 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
- The NSG is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade in fissile materials and technologies.
- Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is the only group where India has not found its place as it has been time and again blocked by China.
- India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016 and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) last year.
- The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) established in 1985.
- It is an informal group of countries that help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons.