Statement delivered by Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Chander, Permanent Representative of India to UN & CD at the CD Plenary on the UNSG's Disarmament Agenda on August 7, 2018 Statement delivered by Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Chander, Permanent Representative of India to UN & CD at the CD Plenary on the UNSG's Disarmament Agenda on August 7, 2018

Statement delivered by Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Chander, Permanent Representative of India to UN & CD at the CD Plenary on the UNSG's Disarmament Agenda on August 7, 2018

CD Plenary on the UNSG’s Disarmament Agenda

Statement by Ambassador Rajiv Chander, PR of India to the UN&CD

August 7, 2018

Mr. President & Distinguished colleagues, greetings to all of you especially those who have joined us recently.  Mr. President, while I have been around for more than a year as PR of India to the UN in Geneva, this is my first statement while holding the additional charge of Disarmament which I assumed last week.  

2.       Mr. President, the Indian delegation congratulates you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference and assures you of our support. We are pleased that you have chosen to dedicate today’s plenary meeting to a discussion on the UNSG’s Disarmament Agenda. It is a timely and relevant initiative. The fact that the UNSG chose Geneva to launch his agenda, which is also home to the Conference on Disarmament, is a reminder of the key role this institution is expected to play as the world’s single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.

3.       The Disarmament Agenda is indeed comprehensive and broad-ranging as well as balanced, addressing Weapons of Mass Destruction and conventional weapons.

4.       India remains committed to the ideals enshrined in the UN Charter and to multilateralism. This is truly the age of interdependence. Enduring solutions to our common problems of peace and security can only be found through the pursuit of genuine multilateralism.

5.       We hear the UNSG’s call to States possessing nuclear weapons that they have the primary responsibility to lead the efforts on non-proliferation and disarmament. As a responsible State that possesses nuclear weapons, India has on several occasions reiterated the need for meaningful dialogue among all nuclear armed States to build trust and confidence and to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines. We also believe that we need to bridge the growing divide on disarmament through dialogue and a renewed commitment to multilateralism. This would also be in line with the UN SG’s call that “all States, nuclear and non-nuclear, must work together to bridge the gulf that divides them”. We also agree with the UNSG when he refers to the negotiation of an FMCT as the oldest outstanding priority on the nuclear disarmament agenda.

6.       Mr. President, on the nuclear front, the UNSG’s Disarmament Agenda calls for “reductions in overall stockpiles of all types of nuclear weapons; ensuring the non-use of nuclear weapons; reduction of the role and significance of nuclear weapons in military concepts, doctrines and policies; reductions in the operational readiness of nuclear-weapon systems; constraints on the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons; increased transparency in nuclear-weapon programmes; and measures to build confidence and mutual trust.”

7.       Most, if not all, of these measures find resonance in two of the resolutions tabled by India annually under the nuclear cluster at the First Committee. The first, on a ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons’, first introduced in 1982, reflects our belief that, a legally-binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons negotiated in the CD with the participation of all states possessing nuclear weapons, will contribute to the step-by-step de-legitimization of nuclear weapons.

8.       The second resolution on ‘Reducing Nuclear Danger’ highlights the need for a review of nuclear doctrines and steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting.

9.       The UNSG also referred to recent technological developments that could challenge existing legal, humanitarian and ethical norms and underlined the need for vigilance in our understanding of such new and emerging technologies. Further steps would be required to encourage responsible innovation by industry. On LAWS, we concur with the UNSG that human beings must remain in control of the use of force at all times and that the culture of accountability must be reinforced.

10.     We welcome the UNSG’s focus on empowering young people and creating training and educational opportunities. It is encouraging to note that UNODA, in partnership with all interested entities, will further invest in disarmament education, including through the establishment of a platform for youth engagement from all parts of the world.

Mr President, I look forward to working with you and other colleagues.  Thank you.