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India calls for total elimination of nuclear weapons

By Dharam Shourie at the United Nations
October 05, 2005 12:28 IST
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Warning against the possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, India has called for total elimination of nuclear weapons in a "progressive and systematic manner" under a global and "non-discriminatory" regime to guard against further proliferation.

Addressing a committee of the General Assembly on Tuesday, the Indian delegate to the United Nations Inderjit said the non-proliferation framework remains beset with "crisis" and to address this issue, it is necessary for nuclear weapons states to reaffirm their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

But simultaneously, he also called on all states to implement "fully and in good faith" the obligations they have accepted.

Though Inderjit did not refer to any country by name, diplomats said the formulation obviously referred to Iran, which has accepted obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is involved in a confrontation with the US and Europeans over its programme to enrich uranium.

He said dealing with growing proliferation concerns in an inclusive manner consistent with the UN charter and international law would reinforce the commitment to and facilitate achievement of nuclear disarmament.

"We believe that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are inter-linked and are mutually reinforcing. Only total elimination of nuclear weapons will provide the assurance that there will be no further proliferation," he said. 

While pursuing the goal of nuclear disarmament, Inderjit said, there is a need to take some interim measures to reduce the danger, including "de-alerting" nuclear weapons.

"There is an urgent need to adjust nuclear doctrines to a posture of no-first-use and non-use against non-nuclear-weapons states. India's nuclear posture is characterised by responsibility, predictability and a defensive orientation," he added.

But, Inderjit said it is important to ensure that proliferation issues do not hamper cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy with states whose "non-proliferation records are beyond doubt".

Stating that India's record on non-proliferation is "unblemished" he welcomed the decision of some "key states" to cooperate with New Delhi in the endeavour to develop nuclear power generation capacity.

"We are engaged in constructive dialogue with the international community for finding ways to facilitate international collaboration in the development of nuclear power," he said.

Emphasising India's resolve to develop nuclear energy as an important component of its overall energy basket, he said New Delhi's goal is to generate at least 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020.

"The development of nuclear energy will reduce pressure on oil prices and provide a clean and environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuel," he told delegates.

Inderjit assured the committee that India is determined to ensure that advanced technologies, both civilian and strategic, do not fall into the "wrong hands" whether of states or non-state actors.

"We have established a comprehensive system of export controls, which is continuously reviewed and updated and accords with the global standards," he said.

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Dharam Shourie at the United Nations
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