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Home    >   UN Disarmament Commission   >  Statement by India during the General Exchange of Views at the Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC), New York, 2 April 2024

Statement by India during the General Exchange of Views at the Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC), New York, 2 April 2024

Mr. Chairperson,

Felicitations on your appointment as the Chair of the 2024 Session of the UN Disarmament Commission. Our warm wishes also to the appointed Vice Chairs and the Chairs of the two Working Groups, Georgia and El Salvador. The Indian delegation assures you of our constructive participation in the session.

We thank High Representative H.E Ms Izumi Nakamitsu for her thoughtful remarks earlier yesterday.

Mr. Chairperson,

India attaches high importance to the UNDC as the specialized deliberative leg of the triad of the disarmament machinery put in place by the First Special Session on Disarmament.

The Commission plays a unique role as the only body with universal membership for detailed deliberations on relevant disarmament issues.

The Commission has made significant achievements in its recent past, having successfully adopted several guidelines and recommendations.

In its last cycle which concluded in 2023, the Commission agreed on consensus recommendations to promote the practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities with the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space.

It is important that we sustain this momentum and strive collectively towards a successful outcome in the cycle commencing this year as well.

Mr. Chairperson,

The UN Member States, in the final outcome document of the 1stSpecial Session on Disarmament, have reaffirmed collectively that the ending of the arms race and the achievement of real disarmament are tasks of primary importance and urgency.

In this regard, India has been consistent in its support for global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

India strongly believes that this can be achieved in a time bound manner through a step-by-step process that is underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.

India’s Working Paper, presented to the Conference on Disarmament in 2007, CD/1816, outlines our approach through a number of proposals that remain relevant to date.

In line with our vision, India has supported the negotiation of a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention in the CD, which has received consistent support from the NAM.

Mr. Chairperson,

India’s annual resolution at the UNGA on a “Convention on the Prohibition of the use of Nuclear Weapons”, tabled since 1982, requests the CD to commence negotiations on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

Our annual resolution on ‘Reducing Nuclear Danger’, tabled since 1998 in the UNGA, draws global attention to the hair-trigger alert of nuclear weapons and calls for steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through their de-alerting and de-targeting.

These two resolutions manifest our shared commitment towards the common goal of nuclear disarmament.

Without prejudice to the importance, we attach to the goal of nuclear disarmament, India has also supported immediate commencement of negotiations at the CD on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) based on CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein. In this context, it is unfortunate that the CD has been prevented yet again this year from commencing substantive work by the delegation of Pakistan.

Mr. Chairperson,

My delegation notes that the Working Group – II will begin its work on a new topic i.e. “recommendations on common understandings related to emerging technologies in the context of international security.”

The decision of the Commission to examine the issue of emerging technologies is an acknowledgement of their impact on international security.

India acknowledges the concerns that have arisen due to the emerging technologies.

The Commission, owing to its structure and mandate, is particularly suited for consideration of issues that arise from the military use of such technologies.

Notably, it is not one, but several new technologies that are usually understood to fall under the description of emerging technologies. Further, different technologies are in different stages of the technology life cycle. Effects of some of them may become clearer only with greater maturity and deployment. Innovation and change are occurring at an unprecedented pace. And these technologies could be combined with each other and with older technologies and platforms.

It is important that we take into account all these aspects in our work on the subject at the UNDC.

Mr. Chairperson,

Emerging technologies can have transformational impact on socio-economic development, particularly for developing countries. The work of the Commission should therefore avoid stigmatization of such technologies.

India was privileged to chair the G20 in 2023. The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration acknowledges this transformational potential of technology in areas as diverse as climate change, sustainable development and in the creation of Digital Public Infrastructure that can improve public service delivery in developing countries.

Many of the emerging technologies are dual-use in nature. It follows that for a developing country like India, access to technology that can have such transformational potential is a substantial concern.  We speak for the Global South when we seek assurances that developmental priorities will not be affected by processes on emerging technologies, including in the military domain.

The discussion in the UNDC on the topic should be anchored in the military reality, and the fact that these technologies may have been deployed in conflict situations.

We also need to take into account the considerable amount of work done or underway at other relevant established platforms and should be careful in respecting mandates, avoid prejudging or prejudicing proceedings in other fora, and avoid duplication.

The discussion should also be consistent with the universal composition and mandate of the Commission.

Our work should identify and expand areas of convergence and help deepen our understanding of the complex issues that are involved.

In this connection attention is drawn to the UNGA resolution on the Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament, traditionally tabled by India, and most recently adopted at the 78th UNGA, which inter alia acknowledges that “the accelerating pace of technological change necessitates a system-wide assessment of the potential impact of developments in science and technology on international security and disarmament, with due regard to avoiding duplication and complementing efforts already under way in United Nations entities and in the framework of the relevant international conventions,” and calls upon Member States to “remain vigilant in understanding new and emerging developments in science and technology that could imperil international security, and underlines the importance of Member States engaging with experts from industry, the research community and civil society in addressing this challenge.” We would also like in this connection to acknowledge the report of the Secretary General contained in A/78/268.

Before I conclude, Mr Chairperson, let me briefly refute the comments by one Member State made earlier during the ongoing general exchange of views, who by doing so has once again chosen to misuse and undermine a UN forum by raising extraneous issues.

The baseless comments are indeed rich, given that the only terrorism in our region is that exported into my country by that Member State, which has an established history of harboring, aiding and actively supporting terrorists, and is responsible for inflicting countless cross-border terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

For the record, let me reiterate here that the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India.

India’s positions on and contributions to disarmament efforts are well known and some of them have also been highlighted in my intervention.

Out of respect for the work of the UNDC I shall refrain from responding to any attempt at continuing the false propaganda against my country through exercise of right of reply at this forum.

Mr. Chairperson,

India hopes that our work this year at the UNDC will advance our deliberations and contribute to the pursuit of collective security in an increasingly turbulent environment.

India stands ready to contribute to this process and work with fellow member States to achieve our collective objectives.


Thank you.

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