'Statement by Ms Devika Lal, Under Secretary, D&ISA at the 2017 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on April 3, 2017 'Statement by Ms Devika Lal, Under Secretary, D&ISA at the 2017 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on April 3, 2017

'Statement by Ms Devika Lal, Under Secretary, D&ISA at the 2017 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on April 3, 2017

Madam Chair,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your stewardship of the UNDC session this year. Let me assure you of the full support of my delegation in the discharge of your responsibilities. I would like to place on record our appreciation for the work done by the UNDC Chairs of the last two years as also the Chairs of the two Working Groups.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Kim Won Soo for his contribution to this important and challenging task and for his presence at the meeting earlier today.

I would also like to extend our condolences and empathy to the people of the Russian Federation for the tragic attacks in St. Petersburg.

India associates itself with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Madam Chair,

India attaches high importance to the UNDC - the deliberative leg of the triad of disarmament machinery put in place by the First Special Session of General Assembly on Disarmament. The Commission plays a unique role as the only forum with universal membership for in-depth deliberations on relevant disarmament issues. At a time of growing mistrust and rising international tensions as well as numerous challenges to both the disarmament agenda and the disarmament machinery, the role of this Commission as a platform for dialogue and cooperation assumes even greater significance.

The UNDC offers an opportunity for Member States to collectively make progress on significant disarmament issues by infusing coherence and consensus in the disarmament debate, which is an imperative if we are to effectively address the complex security challenges of our times. While we share the disappointment at the UNDC not being able to adopt substantive recommendations since 1999, we continue to believe in the inherent value of this forum. It behoves us Member States to show greater political commitment to multilateral forums andto invest in multilateral outcomes that would be of enduring value to the entire international community. Actions must match words; rhetoric should accord with responsible behaviour. With the adoption of concrete recommendations to the UNGA by consensus this year, let us demonstrate our renewed commitment towards UNGA Resolution A/69/77, which had called for the revitalization of the work of the UNDC in this new triennial cycle.

Madam Chair,

India attaches the highest priority to global, non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in a time-bound manner. As such, India has supported the proposal put forward by NAM for the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention. Without prejudice to the priority attached to nuclear disarmament, India has also supported the commencement of negotiations of an FMCT in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate. We have called for a meaningful dialogue amongst all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines. India’s resolutions in the First Committee – on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons and on Reducing Nuclear Dangers which have received support from a large number of member states reflect this approach.

India's resolution on 'Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction' adopted by consensus by the UNGA since 2002 gives expression to widely held international concerns on terrorism and illicit trafficking of WMD technologies whose effects on international security are still reverberating through the world.

As regards the second agenda item "Practical CBMs in the field of conventional weapons", Madam Chair, India supports practical CBMs initiatives as we believe that they can go a long way in enhancing transparency and minimizing misunderstandings and misperceptions, thereby promoting a suitable environment of peace and security among States.Confidence building must be a step-by-step process and should evolve at a pace comfortable to all participating states. The initiation and adoption of CBMs must remain the prerogative of States concerned and subject to their consent.In elaborating practical CBMs in the field of conventional weapons, we could benefit from and build upon the guidelines on CBMs endorsed by the UNGA at its 41st session, on the recommendation of the UNDC.

As we conclude yet another triennial cycle, this year’s session assumes special significance - in achieving a successful outcome through the adoption of substantive and concrete recommendations, breaking the long standing impasse and thereby laying a firm foundation for future progress. In this endeavor, Madam Chair, I assure you of our full support and co-operation.

I thank you.