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India firm on verifiable nuclear weapons reduction

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-07-2017 Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India continues to attach priority to and remains committed to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament, foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said on Tuesday against the backdrop of New Delhi’s abstention from negotiations and a vote on adopting a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons at the UN.

Noting that India did not participate in the negotiations on a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons which were concluded in New York on 7 July, Baglay said that besides India, “none of the other states possessing nuclear weapons participated in the negotiations”.

Nearly two-thirds of UN states agreed on 7 July to the treaty to ban nuclear weapons after months of talks, which were boycotted by the US, Britain, France and others who instead pledged commitment to a decades-old Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970 and is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.

The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. It was adopted with 122 votes in favour, one against and one abstention.

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, British ambassador Matthew Rycroft and French ambassador Francois Delattre said in a joint statement that their countries do “not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party” to the treaty, Reuters reported.

The three nations are among almost 40 countries that did not join the talks.

According to Baglay, given that India had not participated in the negotiations and abstained from voting on the treaty, “India, therefore, cannot be a party to the Treaty, and so shall not be bound by any of the obligations that may arise from it.”

“India believes that this Treaty in no way constitutes or contributes to the development of any customary international law,” he said.

Reiterating India’s commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapon free world, Baglay said, “India believes that this goal can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework.”

“In this regard, India supports the commencement of negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention in the Conference on Disarmament, which is the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum working on the basis of consensus,” Baglay said.

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