Madame President, dear colleagues,
Thank you for giving India the floor. We had spoken on this topic during the informal Plenary today but for purpose of record and in spirit of engagement, my delegation takes the floor once again.
The past one and half year has been an unprecedented time for all of us due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even as we tried to adapt to the new modalities of our work and continue the important work of the Conference during this period, it has not been possible to snap out of the CD’s longstanding stalemate. That the Conference has not been able to adopt a Programme of Work for almost twenty-five years, with the exception in 2009, which too could not be implemented, is an indication of the chronic lack of political will keeping the CD from negotiating legally binding instruments, in accordance with the mandate of the CD.
2. As the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, mandated by the Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD) -1, the CD’s agenda deals with critical challenges of disarmament and international security. India supports a comprehensive and balanced Programme of Work to enable the Conference to commence negotiations in fulfillment of its mandate.
3. In view of the great danger posed by the nuclear weapons to the humankind, it is essential for the international community to take urgent steps towards realization of the goal of their complete elimination. India is committed to the goal of universal, non-discriminatory, and verifiable nuclear disarmament and has called for complete elimination of nuclear weapons through a step-by-step process, as also outlined in our Working Paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the CD in 2007 (CD/1816). In the Working Paper, India urges the international community to intensify dialogue, so as to build a consensus to initiate concrete steps towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament, based on the following elements:
India reiterates its call to undertake these steps outlined in the working paper, including negotiation in the CD of a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention, as also called for by the Movement of Non-Aligned countries as well by the G-21.
4. Without prejudice to the priority we attach to nuclear disarmament, India supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the CD on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, which remains the most suitable basis for negotiations as also endorsed by the GGE on FMCT and the High-Level Expert Preparatory Group on FMCT. India considers that FMCT negotiations are the most mature subject for the CD to take up and we reaffirm our readiness to participate in the FMCT negotiations in the CD.
5. Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), is another long-standing item on the CD’s agenda. India looks forward to an early start of negotiations of a legally binding instrument on PAROS to address pressing issues relating to space security. The issue of Negative Security Assurances has been on the Agenda of the Conference since 1979.The Final Document of the SSOD-I called upon nuclear weapon States to take steps to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. We believe that non-nuclear weapon states have a legitimate right to be assured against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.India supported resolution A/RES/75/34 adopted by the General Assembly which recommends that the CD actively continue intensive negotiations on the issue of Negative Security Assurances. As part of the G-21 and NAM, India has supported the conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states as a matter of priority.
6. India supports the upholdingof the rule of consensus for decision making in the CD, as that is the only guarantee for complete ownership and universal acceptance of the decisions adopted by the CD by its member States.
â€‹7. One of the factors that could help breaking the deadlock is better communication and greater interaction among CD Members and Observers, through more consultations including informal consultations.These would lead tobetter understanding of each other’s positions and views, thereby fostering mutual respect and finding common ground.
8. India stands ready to fulfil its part in this endeavour and work with fellow members to achieve our collective goals.