India's concern over WMD materials going to terrorists
New Delhi: Voicing concern over dangers of sensitive materials and technologies falling into the hands of terrorists and non-state actors, India on Friday asked the international community to join hands in eliminating the risks relating to nuclear terrorism.
"As a victim of terrorism for over three decades, we are fully cognizant of the catastrophic dangers that transfers of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) to non-state and terrorists could entail.
"The focus on non-state actors should in no way diminish state accountability in combating terrorism, dismantling its support infrastructure or its linkages with WMD," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here.
He was addressing a '1540 Workshop on Building New Synergies on Nuclear Security' the agenda of which is based on the UN resolution affirming that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
He said India supports the initiative of the Director General of the IAEA to hold a Meeting on Nuclear Security in July next year and intends to participate at the ministerial level. He noted that India has contributed one million dollars for the Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund.
The workshop, coinciding with India's presidency of the UN Security Council this month, is being held in cooperation with UN Office of Disarmament Affairs to brainstorm crucial issues, including nuclear terrorism.
On 28 April 2004, the UN Security Council had unanimously adopted Resolution 1540 (2004) which obliges States, inter alia, to refrain from supporting by any means non-State actors from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems.
It also imposes binding obligations on all States to adopt legislations to prevent proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery, and establish appropriate domestic controls over related materials to prevent their illicit trafficking.
Mathai said India has enacted a number of effective laws and regulations and has put in place institutionalised administrative mechanisms to prohibit WMD access to terrorists and non-state actors.
India is committed to maintaining effective national export controls consistent with the highest international standards and is prepared to make its contribution as a full member of multilateral export control regimes, he said.
The Foreign Secretary pointed out that the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level "but national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behavior by States".
"We should respect national legal frameworks and national practices and processes but at the same time foster an enabling international cooperative framework," he said.