New Delhi/New York - The United Nations, backed by the US and other countries, Tuesday asked countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to join the NPT regime. India made it clear there is no change in its position that the NPT was discriminatory.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all nations to join the NPT in his address at the ongoing NPT review conference in New York. “I urge those countries that are currently outside the treaty regime to accede to it as soon as possible,” Ban said.
“Pending their accession, there is a need for measures to ensure the safety and security of those countries’ arsenals and technology. Nuclear materials must not be acquired by non-state actors and terrorists,” Ban said.
The US endorsed the UN call vigorously. “We want universal adherence,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the NPT review conference.
“We continue to urge all states, every single one of them outside the NPT to join the treaty… accept the full scope of safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as required under the treaty,” said Clinton.
“We believe strongly and that is why we are taking steps that have never been taken by any administration before and we would like every nation to become a signatory,” said Clinton, without naming any of non-signatories.
Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, too called for all nations outside the NPT to join the pact.
India, Pakistan and Israel are the three countries which have yet to sign the NPT and are not participating in the conference.
An Indian official said there was no change in New Delhi’s known position.
India has said several times recently that it opposes the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in their present form as it regards them as discriminatory, dividing the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.
In his intervention at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington April 12, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined India’s non-proliferation record and mentioned a slew of steps taken by New Delhi to prevent proliferation.
The prime minister, however, struck a critical note on NPT: “It is a matter of deep regret that the global non-proliferation regime has failed to prevent nuclear proliferation.”
Global non-proliferation, to be successful, should be universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament, he said.
New Delhi has, however, kept its options open vis-a-vis CTBT, saying if other countries - read the US, China and Pakistan - go along, it will re-examine its stand.