It is an honour to address the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament under the Presidency of Ethiopia, a fellow G-21 country with which India enjoys excellent bilateral relations.
My delegation assures you of its full support and cooperation.
We meet in uncertain times.
We are forced to confront geopolitical stresses, conflict and terrorism; we have lived through climate related disasters; and we struggle with rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices.
We have had to cope with these multiple and interlocking crises in the immediate aftermath of the ravages of the pandemic.
India is committed to multilateralism and multilateral institutions.
India is the current President of the G20. When taking over the G20 Presidency in Bali last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the need for a sense of trusteeship among humanity for the safe future of the planet.
This requires an effort to develop global solutions for global problems. India believes that multilateral institutions and processes play a key role in developing these solutions.
India further believes that the multilateral system needs to reflect contemporary realities through a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System
The Conference on Disarmament has an important place in this framework.
India attaches high priority to the CD as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, as mandated by the Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD)-1 and reaffirmed most recently in UNGA Resolution 77/89.
It deals with some of the most critical challenges currently facing the international community. Its work has acquired greater significance in the current context.
Member States must therefore rise above their differences, and demonstrate political will to advance the work of the conference – that of negotiating legally binding instruments.
We note with regret that the Conference was only able to adopt a procedural report in 2022 and that the resolution on the Conference on Disarmament was not adopted by consensus by the 77th General Assembly.
My delegation believes that the Conference, under your Presidency, will spare no effort to adopt a Programme of Work. India believes that the Programme of Work of the Conference should be comprehensive and balanced. My delegation also believes in building on work that has already been done.
India is committed to the goal of universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament. We have, through our Working Paper CD/1816, submitted to the Conference in 2007, called for complete elimination of nuclear weapons through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework. India reiterates its call to undertake the steps outlined in the Working Paper, including negotiation in the CD of a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention.
Without diminishing the priority we attach to disarmament, India supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the CD on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, which remains the most suitable basis for negotiations.
India, as a responsible nuclear weapon State, is committed as per its nuclear doctrine to maintain credible minimum deterrence with the posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon States.
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.
India attaches importance to the building on work done on nuclear disarmament verification and has participated constructively in the proceedings of the Group of Governmental Experts on this subject.
We also take note of the outcome document adopted by the IX Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention.
India will participate constructively in the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.
India accords high importance to advancing the work being undertaken on conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons.
In line with the SSOD-1’s emphasis on promoting expertise in disarmament and in empowering our younger generations, India has been hosting a fully funded three-week Annual Disarmament and International Security Fellowship Programme covering an entire range of key disarmament and international security issues. I am pleased to inform you that the 3rd edition of the Annual Fellowship Programme was successfully held in New Delhi from 9-27 January 2023, in which young diplomats from 30 countries participated.
The problems that the world faces today recognize no boundaries.
India believes that we all need to work together in solidarity and choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue over conflict. The theme of India's G20 Presidency: "One Earth, One Family, One Future” reflects this belief.
I thank you, Madame President.