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Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Statement by Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament during the meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the CCW in Geneva on 22 November 2017

Mr President,

The Indian delegation congratulates you on the assumption of the Presidency of the 2017 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the CCW. We also felicitate the other members of the Bureau upon their election. We assure you of the full support of the Indian delegation in achieving constructive outcomes from this meeting. We convey our appreciation to the Secretariat and the ISU for their support. We align with the statement delivered by Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

2.     The CCW is a significant instrument of International Humanitarian Law within the UN Framework. The Convention and its Annexed Protocols, while stipulating measures to mitigate humanitarian concerns arising from the use of specific weapons and weapons systems also take into account the military necessity of such weapons, thus striving to strike a balance between the two concepts. Over the years, the Convention has evolved dynamically and demonstrated its continued relevance through the successive adoption of its five Protocols. 

3.     India remains fully committed to the Convention and its Annexed Protocols as well as the humanitarian principles that they embody. We have ratified all the five Protocols annexed to the Convention and Amended Article I of the Convention. We are committed to ensure the full implementation of our obligations under the CCW and its Protocols, including Amended Protocol II and Protocol V. 

4.       India firmly believes that the universality of the CCW remains critical for the success of the Convention and its Annexed Protocols. We note with satisfaction that steady progress has been made towards this goal, with the number of High Contracting Parties rising to a noteworthy figure of 125.  We welcome the accession of Afghanistan and Lebanon to the CCW and Benin to Amended Article 1. India supports the Plan of Action on Universalization as well as the Sponsorship Programme, and has made regular financial contributions to it over the last few years.

5.       Equally crucial towards the success of the CCW and its Protocols is the implementation of the Compliance Mechanism. India has regularly submitted its Annual Report on Compliance every year since 2008. We support measures aimed at encouraging submission of compliance reports by High Contracting Parties.

6.       We share the disappointment among the High Contracting Parties that the meetings of the Group of Experts of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II and to Protocol V and the first session of the GGE on LAWS could not take place owing to lack of adequate funding. We understand the gravity of the financial situation of the CCW and call for greater predictability and stability.

7.       We are pleased that the GGE on LAWS was successful in adopting its report by consensus. We remain convinced that the CCW is the relevant forum to address the issue of the possible expansion of the autonomous dimension of lethal weapons systems, not least because of the fine balance the Convention seeks to strike between humanitarian concerns and military necessity but also because it provides a dynamic and adaptive platform bringing together multiple stake-holders. Further, we believe that addressing this issue within the framework of the CCW strengthens the Convention and underlines that it is capable of responding meaningfully to evolving new technologies applicable to armed conflict in the 21st century. 

8.       We welcome the addition of the item on ‘Consideration of how developments in the field of Science and technology relevant to the Convention may be addressed under the Convention’ to our Agenda this year. We believe that the accelerating pace of technological change necessitates a thorough assessment of the potential impact of developments in science and technology on international security and disarmament in general, including in the context of the CCW. It was with this objective in mind that India tabled a new resolution on the ‘Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament’ at the 72nd session of the First Committee this year. The resolution, which was adopted by consensus, requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session a report on current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts, with an annex containing submissions from Member States giving their views on the matter. We hope that the UNSG’s report would provide some relevant and valuable insights with regard to our work in the CCW.

9.    The discussion on IEDs under AP II has been useful in addressing the threats posed by the use of IEDs by terrorists and non-state actors. We support the continuation of these discussions, under the CCW framework, while underlying that the responsibility for enforcing rule of law, including respect for international law lies with the legitimate government authority of that State Party. We believe that while there is scope for enhancing cooperation among States in exchange of expertise and information sharing and counter measures, this should be done on a voluntary basis keeping in mind confidentiality of sensitive information. We remain steadfast in our support to the Declaration on IEDs adopted at the Review Conference last year. 

10.     In conclusion, Mr President, we are pleased to announce that India, along with the ICRC, is organizing a regional conference on the CCW in New Delhi on 5-6 December this year. The conference will bring together more than 30 States from Asia, the Gulf Region and East Africa, as well as experts from a number of international organizations. It will include a range of legal, military and humanitarian perspectives and cover presentations and discussions on a number of topics such as the important role of the CCW in international humanitarian law, the weapons it regulates and the current state of its ratification and implementation; CCW from a military perspective, policy and practice; Landmines and explosive remnants of war: views of affected States; The international rules to address the consequences of landmines and explosive remnants of war; CCW’s work on improvised explosive devices, cluster munitions and autonomous weapons systems; and efforts to strengthen CCW Protocols: incendiary weapons and anti-vehicle mines. We hope that this Conference would make a significant contribution towards the efforts being made for universalization of the CCW.

 

Thank You, Mr President.

 
 
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