India's MTCR membership
India set to join Missile Technology Control Regime group. Pictured: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) 41st annual Leadership Summit in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2016.Reuters

In what may be seen as an accomplishment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday, the 34-nation anti-proliferation body Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has agreed to admit India to the group, diplomats said.

The MTCR was set up in 1987 to limit the spread of unmanned systems, which was capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

None of the member nations raised any objection to India's admission to the group, Reuters reported. Hence, India "automatically" gained membership to MTCR.

The Indian government did not make an official statement on the matter; however, India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, at a press conference in Washington, said that President Obama had "welcomed our imminent entry" into MTCR, the Hindu reported.

With India having bagged a place in the grouping, the country's admission would enable it to buy high-end missile technology, which includes buying the Predators surveillance drones.

Next stage of formalities

As part of the protocol, each of the 34 member nations would have to send a diplomatic note stating that they accept India's membership. "This could take weeks or even months, given the internal processes of each country," an official told the Hindu.

India will also receive membership documents from the MTCR chair, which it must sign and return.

In a tweet on Monday, former Chair of MTCR Roald Naess said the mission had been "almost accomplished." 

"We look forward to India joining the annual plenary session in October 2016 in Seoul this year as a member," Naess was quoted as saying by the publication.

Italy previously blocked India's membership

Rome had objected to India's membership in 2015, probably due to its standoff with New Delhi over the detention of two Italian marines. However, the bilateral dispute was sorted out after India released the second Italian marine in May-end, Reuters added.

"In my mind, the hurdle was the Italian veto over the Indian arrest of the Italian marine. Now that the marine has been released, I think it appears that yes, admission will be granted," a source was quoted as saying by the agency.

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