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India Statement by JS (D&ISA) at the First Session of the Group of Governmental Experts to Consider the Role of Verification in Advancing Nuclear Disarmament

May 14, 2018

Ambassador Knut Langeland, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

India congratulates you on your assumption of this important responsibility of chairing the Group of Governmental Experts to consider the role of verification in advancing Nuclear Disarmament.

Over the years, Norway has played a leading role in the arena of global disarmament and non-proliferation, and this is yet another significant contribution in that direction. I would also like to put on record our appreciation to the United Kingdom as a co-sponsor of this initiative which brings us together today in this room.

I would like to recognize my colleagues, Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference of Disarmament, as well as Mr. Umesh Dani, our technical expert who has traveled all the way from the the Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai. May I also express my gratitude to the distinguished colleagues from the UNODA, particularly Ms. Silvia Mercogliano and her team for their support throughout this process.

This meeting provides an important opportunity for experts from various regions of the world to express their views and perspectives which will take forward the discussions on this important subject.

Mr. Chair,

India voted in favour of the General Assembly resolution 71/67 on Nuclear Disarmament Verification in view of the importance of increasing common understanding on international and effective verification in multilateral legal instruments for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, which would also be an essential element of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons. OP1 of the resolution 71/67 calls for further efforts to reduce and eliminate all types of nuclear weapons and reaffirms the unequivocal undertaking of the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

In this context, I would like to reiterate that India’s commitment to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament within a specified timeframe has been firm and consistent. Pursuant to the UNGA resolution 68/32, India has supported NAM’s proposal for a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention to be negotiated in the CD. India had also joined the G21 Working Paper CD/2067 submitted in the CD. Without prejudice to the priority we attach to nuclear disarmament, we have also supported negotiations on a non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable FMCT in the CD on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein. It is perhaps not a coincidence, that the High Level Expert Preparatory Group on FMCT will be meeting in a weeks time in the very same building.

Mr. Chair,

India acknowledges the utility of technical work on verification as proposed in resolution 71/67, which can build upon past work done in the Disarmament Commission on the subject, and keeping in mind the principles enshrined in the tenth special session of the General Assembly. At the same time, such work cannot prejudge the nature and scope of any eventual nuclear disarmament instrument, which would in turn impact on the verification elements to be agreed and specific to that instrument. Work on verification in the proposed group of governmental experts cannot be a substitute for the established disarmament machinery — the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission — addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament verification in line with the scope of a future comprehensive instrument on nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Chair,

As stated before, India maintains that the context for the resolution is global and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. In this regard, any role for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would be limited to what is specified in the statute of IAEA. Relevant verification experience from a treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction and providing for their internationally verifiable elimination, namely the Chemical Weapons Convention, could also be usefully studied in this context.

In India’s view the work of the GGE amounts to neither pre-negotiations nor negotiations, which should take place in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate for nuclear disarmament. However, the work of this Group may become a valuable reference even though it does not bind the hands of future negotiators and is without prejudice to national positions.

We are happy to note that this Group will conduct its work in accordance with the established practices of a GGE, including the principle of consensus. India supports the CD as the world's single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum and hopes that its member states will redouble efforts to enable the Conference to commence substantive work on this subject at an early date.

Mr. Chair,

My delegation would like to express its full cooperation and support to you for a successful meeting.

Thank you!
United Nations, Geneva

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