INDIA AND UNITED NATIONS
India has a long-standing commitment to the goal of general and complete disarmament. As early as 1948, India called for limiting the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only and the elimination of atomic weapons from national armaments. India was the first country to call to an end to all nuclear testing in 1954. This was followed up in subsequent decades by many other initiatives, for example, on the Partial Test Ban Treaty, and the call for international negotiations on nuclear non-proliferation. In 1978, India proposed negotiations for an international convention that would prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. This was followed by another initiative in 1982 calling for a "nuclear freeze" - i.e. prohibition on the production of fissile material for weapons, on production of nuclear weapons, and related delivery systems.
The centre-piece of India’s policy on nuclear disarmament is the “Action Plan for Ushering in a Nuclear-weapon free and Non-Violent World Order” proposed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to the Third Special Session on Disarmament of the General Assembly in June 1988. The heart of the Action Plan was the elimination of all nuclear weapons, in three stages by 2010 and placed emphasis on nuclear disarmament that is global, universal and non-discriminatory in nature. The essential features of this Action Plan were:
· First, there should be a binding commitment by all nations to eliminating nuclear weapons in stages, by the year 2010 at the latest.
· Second, all nuclear weapon States must participate in the process of nuclear disarmament. All other countries must also be part of the process.
· Third, to demonstrate good faith and build the required confidence, there must be tangible progress at each stage towards the common goal.
· Fourth, changes are required in doctrines, policies and institutions to sustain a world free of nuclear weapons. Negotiations should be undertaken to establish a Comprehensive Global Security System under the aegis of the United Nations.
Most presciently, the Action Plan noted, “Beyond a point, nuclear disarmament itself would depend upon progress in the reduction of conventional armaments and forces. Therefore, a key task before the international community is to ensure security at lower levels of conventional defence. Reductions must, of course, begin in areas where the bulk of the world's conventional arms and forces are concentrated. However, other countries should also join the process without much delay. This requires a basic restructuring of armed forces to serve defensive purposes only. Our objective should be nothing less than a general reduction of conventional arms across the globe to levels dictated by minimum needs of defence. The process would require a substantial reduction in offensive military capabilities as well as confidence building measures to preclude surprise attacks. The United Nations needs to evolve by consensus a new strategic doctrine of non-provocative defence.”
India was compelled by considerations of national security to establish and adopt a policy of keeping its nuclear option open while it continued to work for global nuclear disarmament. India's nuclear capability was demonstrated in 1974. India exercised an unparalleled restraint in not weaponising its nuclear capability. It is relevant to recall, that during this period, when we voluntarily and totally desisted from testing, over 35,000 nuclear weapons were developed through a series of tests by states possessing nuclear weapons. India was obliged to stand apart on the CTBT in 1996 after having been actively engaged in the negotiations for two and a half years precisely because the issues of non-proliferation, global disarmament and India's concerns about her security and strategic autonomy were ignored.
India's continued commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is clear from the voluntary measures announced by India after undertaking a limited series of underground nuclear tests in 1998. India remains committed to converting its voluntary moratorium into de jure obligation accordance with our long held positions disarmament. India has declared that it will maintain minimum credible nuclear deterrent and will not engage in an arms race. India has declared a no-first-use doctrine. We are willing to strengthen this commitment by undertaking bilateral agreements as well as by engaging in discussions for a global no-first-use agreement. India believes that a global no-first-use agreement would be the first step towards the delegitimization of nuclear weapons. India has also called for a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons just as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have banned the other two categories of weapons of destruction.
Further, India has an impeccable record on non-proliferation which is ensured through a stringent and effective system of export controls. Global recognition of this record was evident in the near complete lack of opposition to opening of international civil nuclear cooperation with India in 2008. India believes that the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT has only served to legitimize nuclear arsenals of the NPT states possessing nuclear weapons into perpetuity, thus posing a major obstacle to the goal of global nuclear disarmament. India welcomes the recent efforts by some heavily armed nuclear states to take steps in good faith for nuclear disarmament with the aim of eventually fulfilling obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India supports the negotiation in the CD of an FMCT that is universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable. We support international efforts to strengthen the present international legal framework to ensure the safety and security of space assets and to prevent the placement of weapons in the outer-space. While noting that there is no legal regime governing the possession and use of missiles, we believe that any initiative to address these concerns in a sustainable and comprehensive manner should be through an inclusive process based on the principle of equal and legitimate security. India has contributed actively to UN efforts to strengthen regulation of small arms and light weapons as we believe that it is necessary to break the nexus between small arms proliferation and terrorism and organized crime. We remain strongly committed to the CCW process which offers the only forum of a universal character that brings to together all the main producers and users of major conventional weapons, thus ensuring that the instruments that emerge have a greater prospect of making a meaningful impact on the ground.
INDIA'S POSITION ON:
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