India calls for global political consensus on nuke disarmament

United Nations: India has called for global political will for complete elimination of nuclear arms, saying the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria underscores the "urgent" need to strengthen restraints on use of WMDs and prevent their access to non-state actors and terrorists.

Addressing a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament here yesterday, Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid said there is need to galvanise political will and help channel collective global efforts towards the goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

 India calls for global political consensus on nuke disarmament

A Russian nuclear submarine. Agencies.

"The recent use of chemical weapons in Syria point to an urgent need for the international community to strengthen restraints on use of weapons of mass destruction and in particular preventing their access to non state actors and terrorists," he said extending India's support towards the global elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.

India also supported a call by the Non-Aligned Movement for an early commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on nuclear disarmament. "Without prejudice to the priority we attach to nuclear disarmament, we also support the negotiation in the CD of a non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable treaty banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices that meets India's national security interests.

"It should be our collective endeavour to return to the CD, which remains the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, to substantive work as early as possible. Khurshid stressed that there is need for "meaningful dialogue" among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines.

"Progressive steps are needed for the de-legitimisation of nuclear weapons paving the way for their complete elimination," he added. He said India is a responsible nuclear power, with a credible minimum deterrence policy and a posture of no-first use. "We refuse to participate in an arms race, including a nuclear arms race. We are prepared to negotiate a global No-First-Use treaty and our proposal for a convention banning the use of nuclear weapons remains on the table," he added.

"As we see no contradiction between nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, we are also committed to working with the international community to advance our common objectives of non-proliferation, including through strong export controls and membership of the multilateral export regimes," he said.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who had said he regarded the use of atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most "diabolical" use of science, Khurshid said crafting a nuclear weapon-free and non-violent world order still remains a collective challenge. "India remains convinced that its security would be strengthened in a nuclear weapon-free and non-violent world order. This conviction is based both on principle as well as pragmatism.

"We believe that the goal of nuclear disarmament can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework that is global and non-discriminatory," he said. He said in recent years, there has been a "welcome and well-deserved" focus on preventing access by non-state actors, in particular terrorists, to weapons of mass destruction and related materials.


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Updated Date: Sep 27, 2013 11:50:08 IST