Wassenaar Arrangement


The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is a multilateral export control regime (MECR).

It has 41 participating states. It is the successor to the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), and was established on 12 July 1996, in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, which is near The Hague.

The Wassenaar Arrangement was established to contribute 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 destabilising accumulations. Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.

A Secretariat for administering the agreement is located in Vienna, Austria. Wassenaar Arrangement is not a treaty, and therefore is not legally binding.

Every six months member countries exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms to non-Wassenaar members that fall under eight broad weapons categories: battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, military aircraft, military helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, and small arms and light weapons.

Admission of new members requires the consensus of all members.

India is not a member of Wassenaar Arrangement. However, during a state visit to India in November 2010, US president Barack Obama announced US support for India’s bid for permanent membership to UN Security Council as well as India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime.

China and Israel are also not members, but they have aligned their export controls with Wassenaar lists, and are significant arms exporters.

Australia Group


The Australia Group is an informal group of countries established in 1985 to 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. It was triggered by the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984.

The group held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in September 1989. It now has 42 members. Delegations representing the members meet every year in Paris, France.

Members include all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European Union, Ukraine, and Argentina.

The name comes from Australia’s initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat.

In 2002, the group took two important steps to strengthen export control.

The first was the “no-undercut” requirement, which stated that any member of the group considering making an export to another state that had already been denied an export by any other member of the group must first consult with that member state before approving the export.

The second was the “catch-all” provision, which requires member states to halt all exports that could be used by importers in chemical or biological weapons programs, regardless of whether or not the export is on the group’s control lists.

During a state visit to India in November 2010, US president Barack Obama announced US support for India’s bid for permanent membership to UN Security Council as well as India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime.