Sunday, June 30, 2013

India at the Conference on Disarmament

Meant to post this earlier but better late than never: Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai made a speech at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) which set out India's position on some of the key issues facing the CD and global multilateral arms control and disarmament agenda.  There were no major surprises here but still an important and authoritative statement of India's views.  The key bits that struck me had to do with the debate about the CD as a forum (India supports the current format) and on the FMCT (India does not want any change in the mandate for FMCT negotiations).  Below are some quotes from the the speech on these two issues.  You can read the full speech here.

On the CD forum:

The CD fulfils a unique function by bringing together all the militarily significant states. It is also a forum that brings together all states possessing nuclear weapons. (Para 1)
India supports the early commencement of substantive work in the CD. The conference must proceed with the adoption of a Programme of Work. This body works on the principle of consensus and rightly so as matters that come up for negotiation fall in the domain of national security. But the same principle also affords member states the opportunity to protect their interests during negotiations. Therefore, it is unfortunate that this Conference has been prevented, on one unconvincing pretext or another, from commencing substantive work . . . (Para 2)
 I am conscious that there is impatience with the current stasis in the CD. Questioning the relevance and authority of established multilateral disarmament frameworks is
misplaced when in fact the current impasse is more due to the obstacles placed in its path rather any inherent institutional deficiencies. (Para 7)
Without prejudice to the priority India attaches to nuclear disarmament, we support the negotiation in the CD of a non -discriminatory and internationally verifiable treaty banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices that meets India's national security interests. India is a nuclear weapon state and a responsible member of the world community, and would approach these negotiations as such. There is an agreed mandate for the commencement of such negotiations. We do not favour reopening this mandate. (Para 4)

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