India congratulates you on assuming the Presidency of this vital aspect of our work and is pleased to see you chairing this important meeting today. We assure you of the full support of our delegation including our experts who are attending the meeting virtually from New Delhi, in ensuring the success of this meeting. I take this opportunity to share India’s views at this Meeting of Experts on Protocol V on the Explosive Remnants of War.
India is fully committed to the CCW and is a signatory to all the five protocols of the CCW including the Amended Protocol II. Protocol V, which was negotiated during the Presidency of India in 2002-03, holds a special significance for India. India, one of the first signatories to Protocol V in 2005, is cognizant of the grave humanitarian concerns posed by the explosive remnants of war and is fully committed to cooperation and assistance in the implementation of Protocol V. We have also been submitting our national annual reports in a timely manner.
India attaches importance to cooperation and providing assistance, to various countries, in the implementation of Protocol V. We stand ready to contribute towards capacity building, victim assistance and victim re-habilitation, upon request from friendly countries in future under the UN mandate. Our troops, who also form a part of the UN peacekeeping missions, actively participate in activities that include removal and deactivation of IEDs and demining assistance, wherever required.
The ‘India for Humanity’ initiative, launched in October 2018 as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary celebrations and with a focus on Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of compassion, caring and service to humanity, has conducted 13 artificial limb fitment camps in 12 countries and more than 6500 artificial limbs have been fitted till date. India is pleased to convey that, the limb fitment camps, which aim to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the affected persons and help them regain their mobility, has now been extended up to March 2023.
Further, India’s ratification of the Convention on Right of Persons with Disabilities underscores the importance we attach to victim assistance.
India presently does not have any explosive remnants of war. Our military engineers are well trained and geared for clearance and destruction of the ERW. Detailed standard operating procedures are in place for marking and clearance of the ERW which include, prioritization of areas requiring clearance, identification of risk zones, liaison with civilian authorities, educating the civil populace, providing medical support and provision of fencing with posters and danger signs, in ERW risk zones.
We would also like to highlight the need for efforts by affected States in the area of new technologies which can be deployed for removal or deactivation of ERW. In addition, adherence to basic procedures to include voluntary reporting, mapping of contaminated areas, dynamic updating of the database and maintaining real time sanitization record of the clearance efforts would also help in mitigating the threats of ERW.
We sincerely hope that this meeting would contribute towards the efforts being made on Protocol V universalization and strengthening its implementation under your able leadership.
I thank you Mr. President.