India pitches “meaningful dialogue” at UN Disarmament Commission

z23DQaIn a bid to move towards a more inclusive and nondiscriminatory international security agenda, India has pitched for a “meaningful dialogue” among all countries with nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and reduce the “salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines”.

Speaking at a session of the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), India’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador D B Venkatesh Varma, said that India has supported the proposal put forward by Indonesia on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement to commence talks on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention. He said that, “India attaches the highest priority to global, non- discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in a time bound manner.” He added that Disarmament Commission as a platform for dialogue and cooperation was significant and its functioning needs to be improved by undertaking “focused and result oriented discussions” on items on its agenda.

Earlier India had participated in the Vienna Conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear possession, expecting that the threat posed to mankind by nuclear weapons would prompt the nations to take measures on restraining its usage. But the security regime unfortunately hasn’t changed the course, as countries around the world are becoming more focused on gaining access to nuclear technology. This point was noted even by the Pakistan delegate, who mentioned that while consensus building on the issue should take place within the doctrine of “equal security for all”, there is a need to identify the underlying security considerations which drive smaller states to seek weapons.

India has also supported the commencement of negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty, (FMCT) in the CD to limit production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and that CBM guidelines are to be subject to consent and approval of concerned states.

Peaceful use of space, restricting use of drones and Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs), unfair concessions to certain states on nuclear front (Pakistan cited India’s entry into NSG, Iran cited Israel’s nuclear arsenal being a destabilizing factor in West Asia), absence of a time line for nuclear weapons states for dismantling their arsenal (Iran called for time bound treaty on disarmament), universally binding guarantees against nuclear attacks, reduction in conventional and illicit arms, were other concerns raised during the session.