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Conference on Disarmament

Statement by Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, Permanent Representative of India to the CD during the meeting of the Subsidiary Body 2 on Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, with general focus on the ban of the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices held in Geneva on May 16, 2018

CD Subsidiary Body 2 on

“Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, with general focus on the ban of the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices”

May 16, 2018
Statement by India

Mr. Co-ordinator,

The Indian delegation would like to convey our appreciation for your willingness to coordinate discussions under this Subsidiary Body. We thank you for your letter of 26April in which you listed some useful points around which we could structure our discussions. We also appreciate the presentation delivered by Mr Pavel Podvig yesterday and we hope that the CD’s discussions can continue to be informed by independent technical experts from UNIDIR, an important cog in the UN disarmament machinery. While we will be speaking on specific points in greater detail, we would like to make some opening remarks to set out India’s position on FMCT. 

Without diminishing in any way the priority we attach to nuclear disarmament, my delegation supports the negotiation in the CD of an FMCT on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein. Like others, we will also assess the outcome of these negotiations from the perspective of our national security.

India was one of the original co-sponsors of the consensus UNGA Resolution 48/75L adopted in 1993 which envisaged the FMCT as a significant contribution to nuclear non-proliferation in all its aspects. We believed then and continue to believe that that resolution reflected with clarity the common understanding of the objective of concluding a universal, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. In light of some recent obfuscation with regard to the objectives of the treaty, it is important to safeguard conceptual clarity. We joined consensus on the Shannon Report in 1995 and on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on an FMCT in the CD in 1998. Similarly, we did not stand in the way of consensus in May 2009 on CD/1864 which provided for the establishment of a Working Group on FMCT as part of CD’s Programme of Work. India’s position on the FMCT has therefore been clear and consistent since 1993. We remain committed to participating in FMCT negotiations in the CD. We do not favour re-opening the mandate previously agreed to in this forumas contained in CD/1299, which in our view remains valid, relevant and even 25 years onfrom 48/75L, continues to command strong support from the international community. 

India’s support for FMCT negotiations in the CD is consistent with our interest in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime that would add a measure of strategic predictability and a baseline for future global nuclear disarmament efforts. The verification regime of an FMCT could,for instance,serve as a building block for eventual nuclear disarmament verification. Thus, it would be an important step towards nuclear disarmament but would not in itself be a disarmament measure for which a separate, more comprehensive instrument would be required. It is also not, in our view, an arms control measure. This is important considering there was some confusion yesterday regarding what is meant by non-proliferation in all its aspects, in particular vertical non-proliferation.

The mandate in CD/1299 requires that the treaty be non-discriminatory. Thus, the obligations and responsibilities arising from the treaty must apply in a non-discriminatory manner, in particular to all States parties directly affected by the treaty’s obligations and responsibilities.  The treaty would be global in character thus excluding any regional specificity. It would in fact provide a global safety net for such specificities and concerns, which were alluded to yesterday. The treaty should include all States which are essential stakeholders for the treaty and thus critical for universal adherence.

The dynamic correlation between scope, definitions and verification will be an important factor in the treaty, while taking into account the costs of implementing the treaty. The treaty should not place an undue burden on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy or on non-proscribed military activities.

The treaty will stand on its own. It is neither a derivative nor an adjunct of any other existing treaty. In fact, this treaty is sought to be negotiated precisely because of the gaps and infirmities in existing instruments.

In conclusion, Mr Coordinator, let me offer some thoughts on some recent efforts towards an FMCT, somewhat unfortunately perhaps, outside of the CD. India participated in the GGE on FMCT and welcomesitsreport contained in CD/2023. We also participated in the HLEPG on FMCT last year and look forward to doing so this year as well. While we appreciate the worthwhile substantive work done in these two expert groups under the chairmanship of Canada, the work of the GGE and HLEPG amount to neither pre-negotiations nor negotiations on an FMCT, which in our view, should take place in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate. The expert groups have nonetheless brought to bear varied but enriching perspectives on various aspects of a future treaty thus deepening our understanding of its many complexities, which only a serious and interactive discussion can bring forth.  The GGE Report underlines that the treaty and its negotiation in the CD remains a priority enjoying broad international support and CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein remains the most suitable basis on which future negotiations should commence. In our view, that was the most significant conclusion of the GGE.  We hope that the outcome of the HLEPG, as well as the GGE report, which is the result of a most thorough inter-governmental assessment of an FMCT in recent years,will impart momentum for the commencement of FMCT negotiations at the earliest in this Conference.

Thank you.

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