Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC)

Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC)


Basics and Background

  • The HCoC is a voluntary, legally non-binding international confidence building and transparency measure that seeks to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
  • The HCoC was formally brought into effect on November 25, 2002, at a launching conference hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague.
  • The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) is the result of efforts of the international community to internationally regulate the area of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
  • Along with the MTCR, the HCOC is the only multilateral transparency and confidence building instrument concerning the spread of ballistic missiles.
  • By subscribing to the HCoC, members voluntarily commit themselves politically to provide pre-launch notifications (PLNs) on ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle launches (SLVs) and test flights. Subscribing States also commit themselves to submit an annual declaration (AD) of their country’s policies on ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles.
  • As of February 2020, 143 countries have subscribed to the HCoC



It is a missile with a high, arching trajectory which is initially powered and guided, but falls under gravity on to its target. Most of its trajectory is unpowered and governed by gravity and air resistance if it is in the atmosphere. In contrasts, cruise missiles are aerodynamically guided in powered flight.



  • The HCoC aims to contribute to the process of strengthening existing national and international security arrangements and disarmament and non-proliferation objectives and mechanisms.
  • Participants recognize a need to prevent and curb the proliferation of ballistic missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, as well as the importance of strengthening, and gaining wider adherence to, multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms.
  • To meet these objectives, participants try to exercise maximum possible restraint in the development, testing, and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction.


Relevance of HCoC in MTCR

  • The HCoC complements the important, ongoing work of the MTCR.
  • All states, whether or not they are members of the MTCR are encouraged to join the HCoC, which reflects the founding States’ intent to make the Code universally accepted.


India joins The Hague Code of Conduct

  • India’s joining HCoC strengthened the worldwide attempt to contain the spread of ballistic missiles
  • It signals our readiness to further strengthen the global non-proliferation regimes
  • HCoC has been focused on West Asia, South Asia and the East Asia due to the rising missile and nuclear arms race among rival powers
  • In the meeting of the HCoC held in 2015, a special mention was made of the increased number of missile launches by North Korea.
  • India is on track for membership in other technology regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime