Statement by Ms. Rachita Bhandari, Counsellor (D) during the meeting of CD Subsidiary Body 1 on 'Cessation of the Arms Race and Nuclear disarmament' in Geneva on June 25, 2018 Statement by Ms. Rachita Bhandari, Counsellor (D) during the meeting of CD Subsidiary Body 1 on 'Cessation of the Arms Race and Nuclear disarmament' in Geneva on June 25, 2018

Statement by Ms. Rachita Bhandari, Counsellor (D) during the meeting of CD Subsidiary Body 1 on 'Cessation of the Arms Race and Nuclear disarmament' in Geneva on June 25, 2018

CD Subsidiary Body 1 on ‘Cessation of the arms race and nuclear disarmament’

June 25, 2018

Statement by India

Mr. Co-ordinator,

The Indian delegation would like to convey our appreciation for your willingness to coordinate discussions under this Subsidiary Body. We thank you for your letter of May 11 in which you have listed some useful points around which we could structure our work. We also thank Dr King and Dr Borrie for their informative presentations.

Nuclear disarmament, Mr Co-ordinator, which is our subject of discussion today, remains the most significant item on the CD’s agenda. As the UN SG remarked at the launch of his Disarmament Agenda in Geneva last month, “the total elimination of nuclear weapons is in the DNA of the UN. Indeed, it was the subject of the very first resolution adopted by the GA in 1946”. It is unfortunate then that the CD has been unable to make progress on this priority agenda item, despite persistent calls by its Member States and the G21. As the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament that includes all States possessing nuclear weapons among its members, the CD not only bears the primary responsibility but is also uniquely placed in advancing our shared goal of global nuclear disarmament.

India, for its part, remains committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons consistent with the highest priority accorded to nuclear disarmament by the Final Document of the first Special Session on Disarmament. We have been consistent in our commitment to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament and to multilateralism in pursuit of that goal.

We believe 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. There is a need for meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. 

India has a policy of credible minimum deterrence based on a No First Use posture and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. We remain committed to maintaining a unilateral moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.

We support the working paper CD/2067 submitted in 2016 by the G-21 seeking the commencement of negotiations in the CD on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention.

Mr. Co-ordinator, 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.”

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.

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.

Mr Co-ordinator, the longstanding view that actual elimination and international verification must necessarily accompany disarmament instruments, particularly in the field of weapons of mass destruction, and that the possessors must inevitably be part of the disarmament scheme has been put under strain. The rift between those who believe that nuclear weapons can be made to vanish by fiat and those who believe that nuclear weapons must be asserted even more vigorously today has only grown wider. 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”. I thank you, Mr Co-ordinator.