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Statement by Ambassador D B Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 69th UNGA

October 07, 2014

Mr. Chairman,

The Indian delegation congratulates you on your election as Chair of the First Committee and assures you of our full support and cooperation. We associate ourselves with the statement made today by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

Addressing the UN General Assembly on 27th September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined India’s unwavering belief in multilateralism and urged the redoubling of efforts to pursue global disarmament and non-proliferation.

Mr. Chairman,

India's support for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is consistent with the highest priority to the goal of nuclear disarmament agreed by consensus in the Final Document of the First Special Session of the General Assembly. As a nuclear weapon state, our commitment to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament remains undiminished. This goal can be achieved by a step by step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework that is global and non-discriminatory. All states possessing nuclear weapons can make a contribution by engaging in a meaningful dialogue to build trust and confidence by reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines, and by supporting multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects. In the current circumstance, the role of such steps in enhancing strategic trust globally cannot be overestimated.

Pending the global elimination of nuclear weapons, India has put forward a number of proposals for reducing, in all its aspects nuclear risks and dangers in a 2006 Working Paper on Nuclear Disarmament. India considers the Conference on Disarmament as the appropriate forum for the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament. We supported UNGA resolution 68/32 and the working paper CD/1999 submitted by member states belonging to the G21 seeking the commencement of negotiations in the CD on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention. Without prejudice to our position on nuclear disarmament, India supports the commencement of negotiations on FMCT in the CD on the basis of the Shannon mandate, and shares the widely felt disappointment that such negotiations continue to be blocked. We hope that the ongoing work of the GGE, pursuant to UNGA resolution 67/53, will enable commencement at an early date of FMCT negotiations in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate as in CD/1299.

As a responsible nuclear power, India's nuclear doctrine continues to stress a policy of credible minimum deterrence with a posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states. We remain committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. In July this year, India ratified the Additional Protocol signed in 2009. India has contributed to international efforts on advancing global non-proliferation goals and objectives, including through effective export controls. India's membership of multilateral export control regimes is the next logical step.

We have also contributed to efforts at the IAEA in enhancing nuclear safety and security standards and to the success of the Nuclear Security Summit held in The Hague in March this year. Given the rapid increase in recent months in the number of armed non-state actors and terrorist groups, the international community should exercise utmost vigilance against these groups gaining access to WMDs and related materials and technologies

Mr. Chairman,

The CWC and BWC are worthy examples of global non-discriminatory treaties for the complete elimination of the respective categories of weapons of mass destruction. While India has completed its obligations on stockpile destruction, the timely destruction by other state parties of the remaining stockpiles is critical for upholding the credibility and integrity of the Convention. India contributed to international efforts under the UN and the OPCW for the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapon stockpiles. India has been an active participant in the inter-sessional work under the BWC. We share the widespread interest among BWC state parties to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the implementation of the Convention through a Protocol negotiated for that purpose.

Mr. Chairman,

As a major space faring nation, India has vital developmental and security interests in space. India supports strengthening the international legal regime to protect and preserve access to space for all and to prevent without exceptions, the weaponization of Outer Space. We support the substantive consideration of PAROS in the CD. While not a substitute for legally binding instruments, TCBMs can play a useful and complementary role. Discussions on a draft International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities should be inclusive, both in process and substance, to ensure a product of universal acceptance.

Various events this year have sharpened the focus on some of deficiencies in the ATT which India had highlighted during the negotiations- namely the imbalance in obligations between exporting and importing states and whether the treaty could make any meaningful impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use by terrorists and unlawful non-state actors, which is now a major source of international instability. India is undertaking a thorough review of the ATT from our defence, security and foreign policy interests. India attaches importance to the CCW process and the continued consideration, from the perspectives of the objectives and perspectives of the Convention, issues pertaining to Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems. We welcome the consensus outcome of the Fifth Biennial Meeting on Implementation of the POA on Small Arms and Light weapons held in New York 16-20 June 2014.

Mr. Chairman,

As in previous years, India will be tabling three draft resolutions; namely _ 'Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons', 'Reducing Nuclear Danger' and 'Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction' and one draft decision on the 'Role of Science and Technology in the context of International Security and Disarmament.'

We look forward to an opportunity to elaborate on some of these issues during the thematic debate, including on the issue of the UN disarmament machinery.

Thank you.

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