Conference on Disarmament Conference on Disarmament

Conference on Disarmament

Mr. Coordinator, Ambassador Ignacio

India congratulates you on assuming the role of Coordinator of Subsidiary Body 2. We look forward to working under your leadership and guidance as we make progress in this important area of our work.

2.  We thank you for your consultations with Member States to coalesce views on structuring our work and foryour  letter of 15 March in which you have listed the topics around which discussions in this Subsidiary Body could be organized.

3.  My delegation would have preferred an explicit, unambiguous, and clear reference to an FMCT in the topics under Subsidiary Body 2. However, in the interest of CD’s work, we will approach our work in a constructive spirit of engagement and with a view to make progress on this substantive item.

4.  Mr. Coordinator,we would like to emphasize that it is imperative to build on our past work in this Conference including the recent progress in Subsidiary Body 2 of 2018 and consensus report CD/2139.  We must train our collective focus on this aspect for early commencement of negotiations in the CD of an FMCT based on CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.

5.   We look forward to in-depth discussions on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty in our upcoming deliberations in this Subsidiary Body under Technical Considerations and Legally Binding Instruments. While we will be speaking on specific points in greater detail at a later stage, we would like to make some initialremarks today to set out India’s position on FMCT. 

Mr. Coordinator

6.   Without prejudice to the priority that India attaches to nuclear disarmament, we support the negotiation in the CD of a universal, non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty (FMCT) that meets India’s national security interests.India is a nuclear weapon state and a responsible member of the international community and will approach FMCT negotiations as such.

7.  The UNGA resolution 48/75L adopted by consensus in 1993 envisaged FMCT as a significant contribution to non-proliferation in all its aspects. India co-sponsored this resolution and has supported all subsequent FMCT resolutions in the UNGA.  India supported the establishment of an Ad hoc Committee on an FMCT in the CD in 1995 and in 1998 and went with the consensus in 2009 on CD/1864 which provided inter alia for establishment of a Working Group to negotiate an FMCT.India also supported the proposal contained in CD/ 2014 tabled by Mexico as CD President in 2015. In the most recent substantive work on an FMCT, India participated in the work of the Subsidiary Body 2 on FMCT in 2018 and joined consensus on the outcome report CD/2139 under the able leadership of Ambassador Robbert Gabrielse of the Netherlands.

8.   UNGA Resolution 48/75 L reflected with clarity the common understanding of the basic objective of the treaty. The mandate for the proposed treaty was explicitly reflected in this resolution and reconfirmed by the Shannon Report in CD/1299 i.e. to “negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”.India is against reopening this mandate as it provides a clear and feasible basis for taking forward negotiations on this very complex subject.

Mr. Coordinator

9.   As to the scope, the FMCT must be a treaty for banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. In our view, the FMCT is essentially about capping the future production of fissile material for weapon purposes.

10.   The obligations and responsibilities arising from the treaty must apply in a non-discriminatory manner to all States Parties directly affected by the treaty’s obligations and responsibilities. The treaty would be global in character. An FMCT is not a regional arms control treaty.

11.  The treaty should allow the unhindered production of fissile material for permitted purposes under the treaty on a non-discriminatory basis. This would include the production of fuel for civil nuclear energy without prejudice to the variety of fuel cycles currently in use or envisaged for the future. Permitted purposes should also include non-proscribed activities such asproduction and use of fuel for naval propulsion.

Mr. Coordinator

12.   Our support for FMCT negotiations in the CD is consistent with India’s interest in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime that would add a measure of strategic predictability and a baseline for future global nuclear disarmament efforts. Given this objective and given the CD’s vocation, it is essential that all relevant countries participate in these negotiations in the CD and contribute to its successful outcome.  As such, India has actively participated in every relevant forum on this subject, including the GGE on FMCT established pursuant to the UNGA resolution 67/53 and the HLEPG on FMCT established pursuant to the UNGA resolution 71/259 and welcomed their respective reports A/70/81 and A/73/159 adopted by consensus.  At the same time, India had noted that the work of the GGE on FMCT and the HLEPG on FMCT amounted to neither pre-negotiations nor negotiations on an FMCT, which should take place in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate.

13.  The Reports of the GGE on FMCT and the HLEPG on FMCT,  underlined that the Treaty and its negotiation in the CD remains a priority enjoying broad international support and that the CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein remains the most suitable basis on which future negotiations should commence. In our view, this was the most significant conclusion of these consensus reports.

14.  As to the suggestions for declaring a moratorium, India would like to underline that a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, can not be a substitute for an FMCT. With due respect to those who call for such a moratorium, I may remind them, that such a moratorium by its very nature is voluntary, reversible and not verifiable, unlike an FMCT which will impose a treaty obligation, and will be verifiable and irreversible. A moratorium will only weaken the resolve to negotiate an FMCT and set us back. This would be contrary to our mandate and objective. India, therefore, does not support the call for a moratorium.

15.  To conclude, India supports the CD as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum and we hope that its member states will redouble efforts to enable the Conference to commence substantive work at an early date. This Conference should be allowed to fulfil its mandate as a negotiating forum by commencing FMCT negotiations at the earliest opportunity.

Muchas Gracias, Sr. Embajador.