India has said its decision to stay away from a UN conference on negotiations for a total ban on nuclear weapons “has not been easy” but it feels the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) is the “right place” for pursuing such agenda. “CD is the right place for pursuing nuclear disarmament in all its essential elements. It has the mandate, the membership and the rules for embarking on the path to nuclear disarmament. Accordingly, India is not participating in the work of the conference on the prohibition of nuclear weapons that has started this week in New York,” Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill said in Geneva yesterday.
India is not participating in the United Nations conference aimed at a total ban on nuclear weapons, as other major world powers US, China, United Kingdom and Russia also boycotted the talks. The conference, that began on March 27, will run through March 31. Gill said the decision to stay away from the conference “has not been easy for India”. “We appreciate the sincere effort behind the initiative and remain willing to work with the sponsors to reduce the role and military utility of nuclear weapons, to prohibit their use under any circumstances and to eliminate them globally,” Gill said.
He added that nuclear disarmament requires a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework and will have to rest on the three pillars of a universal prohibition, complete elimination and international verification. “India is ready to begin work on these essential elements through the establishment of a subsidiary body of the CD with an agreed mandate as part of a comprehensive and balanced programme of work,” he said. More than 120 nations had in October last year voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene the conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. India had abstained from voting on that resolution. UN Security Council permanent members the US, UK, China, Russia and France are not participating in the conference. In all, over 40 nations are protesting the UN talks.