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India stresses State's accountability in terror-WMD linkage

India has asserted that focus by the international community on preventing non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction should not in any way "diminish" a nation's accountability in combating terror, an apparent reference to Pakistan.



United Nations: India has asserted that focus by the international community on preventing non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction should not in any way "diminish" a nation's accountability in combating terror, an apparent reference to Pakistan.

"The focus on non-state actors should in no way diminish State accountability in combating terrorism and dismantling its support infrastructure and its linkages with Weapons of Mass Destruction," India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal said here.

Lal underscored India's belief that the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level and national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour as well as sustained and effective international cooperation.

 

He said India is fully cognisant of the "catastrophic dangers" that the transfer of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) to non-state actors and terrorists could entail.

"Clandestine proliferation networks must be rolled back and their resurgence prevented. The global community must join hands in eliminating the risks related to sensitive materials and technologies falling into the hands of terrorists and non-state actors," he said at the Security Council open debate yesterday on challenges in addressing the proliferation of WMDs.

He reiterated that as a responsible nuclear power, India's nuclear doctrine continues to stress a policy of credible minimum deterrence with a posture of no-first-use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states.

 

"We remain committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing," he said, adding that all states possessing nuclear weapons can make a contribution by engaging in a meaningful dialogue to build trust and confidence, by reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines.

"We believe that increasing the restraints on the use of nuclear weapons is not only an essential first step but is also necessary for the current complex international environment in enhancing strategic trust globally," he said.

Pakistan's envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi slammed the "discriminatory waivers" given to some nations, saying this poses a key challenge to non-proliferation norms.

She said the global disarmament landscape presents a "gloomy" picture due to the lack of progress made by nuclear weapons States in fulfilling their legal nuclear disarmament obligations that have "negatively impacted" on the non-proliferation regime.

"Disarmament and non-proliferation are inextricably linked. It is unrealistic to expect progress on one without movement on the other. A key challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules is the grant of discriminatory waivers to some, and making exceptions out of power or profit considerations. Grant of such waivers carries obvious proliferation risks," she said.

Lodhi added that these special arrangements are not only discriminatory and denote nuclear double standards but also opened the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful use to military purposes.

"We have also declared a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing and have reiterated our willingness to translate this unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India," she said, adding that Pakistan expected that a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach would be followed for extending membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Lal said India has enacted a number of effective laws and regulations and has put in place institutionalised administrative mechanisms to prohibit access to Weapons of Mass Destruction by terrorists and non-State actors.

Earlier this year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
India participated in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in Washington earlier this year and welcomed the outcome of the Summit, he said, adding that India sees the NSS process as having catalysed significant progress on nuclear security through international cooperation.

"The goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons can be achieved by a step-by-step process, underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework that is global and non-discriminatory," Lal said. 

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