United Nations: India has voiced disappointment over the UN's failure to adopt consensus guidelines on disarmament issues, saying this reflects the lack of political will among member states to invest in multilateral outcomes.
Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament Geneva Ambassador DB Venkatesh Varma said India shares the "widespread" disappointment that the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) has not been able to adopt consensus guidelines since 1999.
"The current difficulties relate less to any inherent deficiencies in the machinery and more to the lack of political will of member states to invest in multilateral outcomes," Varma said at the United Nations on Monday, addressing a session on UN Disarmament Commission.
The Commission can play an important role in reducing tensions and building confidence provided member states start investing in the forum, he said adding that the Commission can do more to improve its functioning by undertaking focused and result oriented discussions on items on its agenda.
Varma also underscored the need to uphold "genuine" multilateralism to increase trust among nations to achieve complete elimination of nuclear weapons, calling for confidence building measures to be a step-by-step process that should evolve at a pace comfortable to all participating states.
"India attaches priority to global, non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in a time bound manner," he said.
Varma said India believes there is a need to "uphold genuine multilateralism to increase trust and confidence among all States, both nuclear and non-nuclear, and to strengthen dialogue so as to close the gaps both on the constitution and expression of international will regarding the pursuit of negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament."
On the issue of practical Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the field of conventional weapons, Varma said confidence-building must be a "step-by-step process and should evolve at a pace comfortable to all participating states".
"CBMs should be adopted on the initiation and with the agreement of the States concerned," he added.
He quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last week in which the Indian leader had underlined that India remains committed to global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Varma said India supports the "peaceful" uses of nuclear energy, a part of its commitment to combat climate change, adding that nuclear security will be a continuing priority for India.
He outlined that India has supported the proposal put forward by Non Aligned Movement (NAM) for the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention.
"We have also called for a reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment by all nuclear weapon States to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons and an agreement on a step by step process underwritten by a universal commitment for the global elimination of nuclear weapons.
"India has also called for meaningful dialogue amongst all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines," he said.
Pakistan's envoy Maleeha Lodhi, without naming India or any other country the region, said in South Asia, real progress towards peace and prosperity was being impeded by "hegemonic efforts" that were often fanned and encouraged by powerful States to advance their own geopolitical objectives.
She added that there were continuing differences in approaches to pursuing an agreed disarmament agenda and new dangers on the global security horizon in areas including the hostile use of outer space, offensive cyber capabilities and the development and use of lethal autonomous weapon systems and armed drones.
She said Pakistan's nuclear policy was shaped by the evolving regional security dynamics.
Even though Pakistan neither wanted to engage in an arms race, it could not remain oblivious to the evolving regional security dynamics and arms build-up, which had obliged her country to take essential steps to maintain its security, she said.