08 MAY 2021 | CONTACT US
Statement Made By Ambassdor Savitri Kunadi, Permanent Representative Of India In The Plenary Of The
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Mr. President,

It gives me great pleasure to avail of this opportunity to express how pleased we are to see you in the chair guiding our deliberations with your characteristic diplomatic skills. we congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency, we recall the relations that exist between our two countries and, in particular, to the immense contribution that you have personally made. I, assure you the fullest cooperation of my delegation in discharging your functions. We would also like to place on record our deep sense of appreciation to Ambassador of Syria, Mr. Taher Alhussami for his diligent efforts as the President of the Conference.

2. Mr. President, I, have requested the floor today to read into the records the extracts from the suo muto statement made by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, before the Indian Parliament on 27 May, 1998. We have requested the Secretariat to circulate the complete version of the statement as an official document of the CD along with a paper entitled "Evolution of Indian Nuclear Policy" which had been tabled in the Indian Parliament on 27 May, 1998.

3. I take this opportunity to read the extracts from the suo motu statement of 27 May made by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I quote:
In 1947, when India emerged as a free country to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, the nuclear age had already dawned. Our leaders then took the crucial decision to opt for self-reliance, and freedom of thought and action. We rejected the Cold War paradigm and chose the more difficult path of non-alignment. Our leaders also realised that a nuclear-weapon-free-world would enhance not only India's security but also the security of all nations. That is why disarmament was and continues to be a major plank in our foreign policy.
During the 50's, India took the lead in calling for an end to all nuclear weapon testing. Addressing the Lok Sabha on 2 April, 1954, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, to whose memory we pay homage today, stated "nuclear, chemical and biological energy and power should not be used to forge weapons of mass destruction". He called for negotiations for prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and in the interim, a standstill agreement to halt nuclear testing. This call was not heeded.

In 1965, along with a small group of non-aligned countries, India put forward the idea of an international non-proliferation agreement under which the nuclear weapon states would agree to give up their arsenals provided other countries refrained from developing or acquiring such weapons. This balance of rights and obligations was not accepted. In the 60's our security concerns deepened. The country sought security guarantees but the countries we turned to were unable to extend to us the expected assurances. As a result, we made it clear that we would not be able to sign the NPT.

The Lok Sabha debated the issue on 5 April, 1968. Prime Minister late Smt. Indira Gandhi assured the House that "we shall be guided entirely by our self-enlightenment and the considerations of national security". This was a turning point and this House strengthened the decision of the then Government by reflecting a national consensus.

Our decision not to sign the NPT was in keeping with our basic objectives. In 1974, we demonstrated our nuclear capability. Successive Governments thereafter have taken all necessary steps in keeping with that resolve and national will, to safeguard India's nuclear option. This was the primary reason behind the 1996 decision for not signing the CTBT, a decision that also enjoyed consensus of this House.

The decades of the 80's and 90's had meanwhile witnessed the gradual deterioration of our security environment as a result of nuclear and missile proliferation. In our neighbourhood, nuclear weapons had increased and more sophisticated delivery systems inducted. In addition, India has also been the victim of externally aided and abetted terrorism, militancy and clandestine war.
At a global level, we see no evidence on the part of the nuclear weapon states to take decisive and irreversible steps in moving towards a nuclear-weapon-free-world. Instead, we have seen that the NPT has been extended indefinitely and unconditionally, perpetuating the existence of nuclear weapons in the hands of the five countries.

Under such circumstances, the Government was faced with a difficult decision. The touchstone that has guided us in making the correct choice clear was national security. These tests are a continuation of the policies set into motion that put this country on the path of self-reliance and independence of thought and action.

India is now a nuclear weapon state. This is a reality that cannot be denied. It is not a conferment that we seek; nor is it a status for others to grant. It is an endowment to the nation by our scientists and engineers. It is India's due, the right of one-sixth of humankind. Our strengthened capability adds to our sense of responsibility. We do not intend to use these weapons for aggression or for mounting threats against any country; these are weapons of self-defence, to ensure that India is not subjected to nuclear threats or coercion. We do not intend to engage in an arms race.

We had taken a number of initiatives in the past. We regret that these proposals did not receive a positive response from other nuclear weapon states. In fact, had their response been positive, we need not have gone in for our current testing programme. We have been and will continue to be in the forefront of the calls for opening negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, so that this challenge can be dealt with in the same manner that we have dealt with the scourge of two other weapons of mass destruction - through the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Traditionally, India has been an outward looking country. Our strong commitment to multilateralism is reflected in our active participation in organisations like the United Nations. This engagement will continue. The policies of economic liberalisation introduced in recent years have increased our regional and global linkages and my Government intends to deepen and strengthen these ties.
Our nuclear policy has been marked by restraint and openness. We have not violated any international agreements either in 1974 or now, in 1998. The restraint exercised for 24 years, after having demonstrated our capability in 1974, is in itself a unique example. Restraint, however, has to arise from strength. It cannot be based upon indecision or doubt. The series of tests recently undertaken by India have led to the removal of doubts. The action involved was balanced in that it was the minimum necessary to maintain what is an irreducible component of our national security calculus.

Subsequently, Government has already announced that India will now observe a voluntary moratorium and refrain from conducting underground nuclear test explosions. We have also indicated willingness to move towards a de-jure formalisation of this declaration. Unquote

4. lndia's commitment to the moratorium was reiterated by Prime Minister in his statement to the Indian Parliament on 29 May, a day after the Pakistani test, The Prime Minister of India also reiterated on engaging in negotiations on FMCT, undertaking stringent export controls on nuclear and missile related technologies as well as those relating to other weapons of mass destruction and. "no-first-use" agreement with Pakistan as also with other countries bilaterally, or in a multilateral form.

5. The logic and rationale of lndia's approaches which have been set out earlier by me in the Statement have been vindicated by the Pakistan's nuclear tests. These tests have established what has been known all along -- that Pakistan has been in possession of nuclear weapons. The clandestine nature of their programme is well documented. It is relevant to note in this context that the trans-border terrorism promoted, aided and abetted against India for the last ten years by Pakistan has a component of its nuclear capability. India has been a victim of this terrorism which must end.

6. Let me now turn to our concerns relating to peace and security in our region. These concerns have increased as India's security environment has become complicated with the accumulation of nuclear weapons and missiles in our neighbourhood. The improvements in the security environment in the West have not been replicated in our region. Our concerns are not limited to South Asia alone, but are far deeper arid broader in scope. On the other-hand, Pakistan's approach has always been Indo-centric as has been made abundantly clear by the justification they have sought to give for their test.

7. India is committed to the maintenance of peace and security in our region and beyond. Our perspectives on security issues are global in range and scope. Such concerns are natural for a country like India, the home of one-sixth of humanity. India's security concerns cannot be relegated to South Asia alone.

8. We have pursued a policy of maintaining security and stability in our region and of striving for the enlargement of friendly and cooperative relations with our neighbours. With our neighbour to the West, Pakistan we have always sought to develop a relationship of friendship and cooperation based on mutual respect and regard for each other's concerns. We have sought ways of enhancing cooperation and of addressing all issues including those on which the two countries do not see eye-to-eye. For this purpose, we have always been ready to pursue the path of comprehensive, constructive and sustained bilateral dialogue. The process of dialogue was reinstated at India's initiative. The two sides have engaged in the process of framing the modalities of dialogue and our suggestion in this regard were given to Pakistan in January 1998. We await their response. An important part of our policy towards Pakistan is the promotion of Confidence Building Measures between the two countries. Several suggestions in this regard have been made by us. Meanwhile, we have scrupulously adhered to the CBMs which are in place. These include an agreement on the prohibition of attack on each other's nuclear facilities and installations. In this context, the recent canard sought to be spread by Pakistan about the possibility of an Indian attack on its nuclear installations was reprehensible. It indicates a mindset which Pakistan must abandon. Attempts to heighten tensions at the border or propaganda by Pakistan are not conducive to building better ties.

9. Before I conclude, Mr. President, I would like to state that we have consistently maintained that Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament have to be discussed in a global framework and in a comprehensive and non-discriminatory manner. Artificial delimitation and selective and compartmentalized approaches which seek to limit these issues to the so-called "South Asia", are defective. I have already pointed out that India's security parameters go beyond South Asia. Our concerns in this regard should not be ignored. The Communique adopted by NAM Ministerial Conference at Cartagena recently noted that the present situation whereby nuclear weapon states insist that nuclear weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet monopolize the right to own them, is highly discriminatory, unstable and cannot be sustained. India remains committed to NAM positions for complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time. India calls on all nuclear weapon states and indeed the international community to join with it in opening early negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention so that these weapons can be dealt with in a global non-discriminatory framework as the other two weapons of mass destruction have been, through the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.