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Conference on Disarmament

Statement by Ambassador DB Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India, at the CD Plenary

Mr. President.

          It is a pleasure to congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament and we are confident that with your diplomatic skill and experience, the Conference will be well served during your tenure. You can be assured of the full cooperation of the Indian delegation.  We would also like to convey our appreciation to the Nigerian Presidency for their efforts as the first President of the 2016 session.

Mr. President,

          During the plenary on 26 January 2016, India had set out its expectations for the Programme of work for this year and had requested the President to take into account relevant UNGA resolutions which merit attention and follow up by this Conference. We are confident that in continuing consultations on a draft Programme of work you would consider the following: 

-Resolution 70/34 on Follow-up to the 2013 HLM of the General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament,

-Resolution 70/62 on the Convention on Prohibition of Use of Nuclear Weapons,

-Resolution 70/39 on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,

-Resolution 70/26 on Prevention of an arms race in outer space,

-Resolution 70/25 on Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons,

             In our view, the Conference should seek to preserve the gains of past decisions, while making progress on its agenda items to achieve consensus on a balanced and comprehensive Programme of Work that would allow the commencement of substantive work.  In case, a Programme of Work is not possible, then the Conference could consider points contained in paragraph 6 of CD 2033 – the report of the Informal Working Group of last year in taking forward structured informal discussions on its agenda items. We would like to thank the distinguished Ambassador of the United Kingdom for his proposal made today. India would give it serious consideration. We welcome the intention of the President to conduct consultations on all the proposals on the table for a Programme of Work, including the one put forward by UK and we would be happy to take part in those consultations.

Mr President,

          India is not participating in the OEWG established pursuant to UNGA resolution 70/33, which commenced its work in Geneva on 22 February 2016.

          We would like to explain the reasons for India’s position.

          India abstained on UNGA 70/33 with an Explanation of Vote.  Disarmament is a charter responsibility of the UNGA. In exercise of this responsibility, the First Special Session on Disarmament established the disarmament machinery with the CD as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. Nuclear Disarmament continues to be on the CD's Agenda. For its part, India has supported the commencement of negotiations in the CD on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention and a Convention on the Prohibition of Use of Nuclear Weapons.

         From current indications, the OEWG does not include all representative groups of states, in particular states whose interests are specially affected. Those participating are all non-nuclear weapon states parties to a particular treaty, some protected by nuclear weapons and many which are not.

         While we acknowledge the strong interest among these states to continue international engagement on issues that were stalled by the inconclusive NPT Review Conference of 2015, the substantive limitations of the OEWG process are self-evident.

         As such, we believe that the OEWG, established outside the CD with an unclear mandate and with the GA Rules of Procedure, may not lead to an inclusive process or productive outcomes that would advance prospects for global and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. 

          We would like to thank Ambassador ThaniThongpakhdiof Thailand for conducting wide consultations, including with India, in the preparatory phase and though for reasons just set out India will not be participating, we would like to wish the OEWG Chair and all other participants success in their deliberations.

 
 
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