Statement By Ms. Savitri Kunadi, PR, Geneva
Allow me to say how pleased we are to see you chairing this session of the UNDC and we join others in expressing our congratulations to you. We would also like to recall the able leadership and contribution of your predecessor, Ambassador Andelfo Garcia of Colombia, and avail of this opportunity to thank him for his untiring efforts to carry forward the work of this Commission.
For guiding our work during this session we have before us the General Assembly resolution 52/40/13. Adopted by consensus, this resolution reaffirms the role entrusted to this body by the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly. As the deliberative leg of the disarmament machinery triad, the UNDC has a special responsibility in guiding the enhancement and promotion of the international disarmament agenda, in the context of the work of the other two legs of this triad- the First Committee and the Conference on Disarmament. The unique utility of this body, is that it allows in depth deliberation of items on its agenda, with a view to formulating concrete recommendations, against the backdrop of the overall objectives in the disarmament agenda.
The elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are the most important objectives on the international disarmament agenda. While the international community has made considerable headway towards disarmament of chemical and biological weapons, the most recalcitrant of issues the elimination of nuclear weapons awaits decisive action on part of the international community. We must work towards an universal and indivisible prohibition of the use of all weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow the success achieved in the field of elimination of chemical and biological weapons as justification for the continued retention and possible use of nuclear weapons against the perceived threat of other weapons of mass destruction.
The expectation that the end of the cold war would also translate into an end to the threat posed by nuclear weapons to international peace and security has been belied. Doctrines of nuclear deterrence with their hair trigger alerts, inherited from the cold war period persist, despite some reductions in the overall numbers of nuclear weapons. Refinement and up-gradation of nuclear weapons and the search for new doctrines for their use, including against the perceived threat of other weapons of mass destruction, continue unabated.
The desire of the international community for urgent, concrete and meaningful steps on part of the nuclear weapon states to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons has been expressed clearly and forcefully; in the resolutions of the General Assembly, statements and declarations of the Non aligned Movement, the historic advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, through appeals of NGOs world-wide and analytically rich studies of several distinguished institutions, many of them from the nuclear weapon states themselves.
India attaches the highest priority to nuclear disarmament. We have proposed the immediate conclusion of an internationally binding agreement prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons, pending their complete elimination. The UNGA resolution 52/38L calls on the CD to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament to commence negotiations on a phased program for the elimination of nuclear weapons within a time bound framework. We joined other delegations in submitting to the CD a programme of action for elimination of nuclear weapons in CD/1419, and a mandate for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in CD/1463.
The reluctance of some states to jettison the cold war mental baggage of viewing nuclear weapons as legitimate currency of international power, and their attempts to freeze an unequal and untenable international order based on special rights and privileges for those possessing nuclear weapons has paralyzed the debate on nuclear disarmament. This is best illustrated by the impasse in the CD regarding forward movement on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. Our deliberations in this Commission would necessarily have to take this into account.
The UNGA resolution 52/38/F, adopted without vote, endorsed this Commission's recommendation that it continue consideration of the item relating to the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. Subject to the outcome of deliberations of this session, including emergence of a consensus on the objectives and agenda of the Fourth Special Session devoted to disarmament, the General Assembly would set an exact date for and to decide on organizational matters of the convening of the Special Session.
We believe that SSOD-IV would offer the international community an opportunity to review the current international situation and to assess the most critical aspects of the process of disarmament. The window of opportunity offered by the end of the cold war may indeed be closing on the priority issue of nuclear disarmament. An SSOD-IV would allow focussed international efforts, including mobilization of public opinion in favor of the elimination of nuclear weapons and strengthen the norm against all weapons of mass destruction.
To live up to the expectations of the international community, the Special Session should address priority disarmament issues and come up with a positive and forward looking program which will provide an organic continuum between the tasks agreed upon in the past and a program of action for the future. There is need to reaffirm the priorities in disarmament negotiations set out by consensus in the Final Document of SSOD 1, with a view to preserve and build upon its achievements, while focussing on finding ways and means to address the unfinished tasks.
Foremost among the unfinished tasks on the international agenda is nuclear disarmament, on which, as I have referred earlier, there is an impasse. We believe that agreement on the agenda item on the Special Session would serve the important purpose of unblocking this impasse and provide an impetus for urgent action for the commencement of negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. For the work of the Special Session to be meaningful, progress on nuclear disarmament would be essential.
For the work of the Special Session to be comprehensive, there would need to be consideration of other issues as well which impact on international security: review of the implementation of the two Conventions on Chemical and Biological Weapons, regulation of conventional armaments such as mechanisms for improved transparency in conventional arms transfers, combating illicit transfers and regulation of those conventional arms which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects and replacement of ad hoc export control regimes with multilaterally negotiated, universally applicable nondiscriminatory agreements to prevent proliferation. Measures to strengthen the multilateral disarmament machinery would also be necessary to provide the institutional support for a vigorous disarmament process as well as to clarify the competence of each part of that machinery in the context of the overall disarmament agenda.
As we resume consideration of this item, for the third year, we have the benefit of the extensive exchange of views in previous sessions including general agreement on elements of understanding on the convening of the Fourth Special Session contained in the working paper of the Chairman. We also fully share the views set out in the working paper presented during the last substantive session on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and other States.
We also resume consideration of the Agenda Item on the establishment of NWFZs on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among states of the regions concerned. Several working papers were presented during the last substantive session. There was only a preliminary exchange of views and more deliberation and reflection would be required before we are able to reach common understanding of the scope of our discussions under this item. To contribute to the working group and to clarify our position my delegation would be submitting a working paper setting out our views.
We have consistently maintained that NWFZs are and remain partial measures of security unless they are anchored firmly in a process leading to the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. The threat posed by nuclear weapons is global in scope; so is the infrastructure supporting their deployment and use. Artificial delimitation of the spatial or the technological dimensions of this global threat is unsustainable unless there is simultaneous action for the global elimination of nuclear weapons. The regional approach is subsidiary to the global approach and cannot replace it. Therefore, India believes that given the global dimensions of nuclear weapons, NWFZs in regions and areas of the world can only be considered an interim measure, pending achievement of the goal of nuclear disarmament for which negotiations are long overdue.
The practical utility of NWFZs also is to be measured against the yardstick of whether they encompass the full range of security concerns of all the states involved. This would inter alia require a definition of the area to be covered by the zones by the states participating in such zones and taking into account its specific geographic and geopolitical characteristics. The initiative for the establishment of such zones rests solely with the regional states concerned on the basis of arrangements and understandings freely arrived at through prior consultations and agreement.
India respects the rights of those countries which have chosen of their free will to safeguard their security interests through their participation in the NWFZs established in keeping with the provisions of the Final document of SSOD-I and guidelines and recommendations endorsed by the UNDC in 1993. A comparative study of existing NWFZs would be instructive as to the specific characteristics of each of the zones while allowing us to draw general conclusions on their utility for the ultimate objective of achieving a world entirely free of nuclear weapons. We have noted recent proposals from concerned states that have expressed an interest to establish such zones in Central Asia and Central Europe. There are other new concepts and developments such as a single state nuclear weapon free zone, hemispheric nuclear weapon free zones, nuclear weapon free space etc; the impact of revised nuclear doctrines of some nuclear weapon states on NWFZS; these deserve our attention.
During the 1997 substantive session we had an initial discussion of the agenda item 11 Guidelines on Conventional Arms Control/limitation with particular emphasis on consolidation of peace in the context of UNGA resolution 51/45/N. We believe that there is need for further clarity as to the scope of our discussions. It is important that our work under this item has its focus on issues relevant to disarmament and avoids duplication of work undertaken elsewhere under Agenda for Peace or activities covered by the Fourth Committee. Our focus should be on drawing up guidelines for consolidation of peace in post conflict situations and applicable to the UN and/or competent regional organizations only in cases in which parties to a recently ended conflict agree to request such assistance from these bodies. Different conflict situations as well as their regional contexts have their individual and distinct characteristics. Therefore, guidelines for post conflict peace consolidation that we wish to draw up would need to be of a nature useful for global applicability. There is thus need to avoid emphasis on concepts or instruments, which are confined to a regional focus.
On the other hand we could benefit from previous work of this Commission in drawing up guidelines for international arms transfers in 1996, for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security in 1993 and for the study on Conventional disarmament adopted in 1982. There is also need to look at the international arms trade with a view to developing guidelines for greater transparency and accountability in the manufacture and transfer of small arms and light weapons. There is need to evolve measures for combating illicit transfers which are often associated with terrorism and other destabilizing activities, including greater coordination and harmonization of national policies to fight this growing menace.
Mr. Chairman, we took forward to a substantive discussion on all agenda items before us, and I wish to assure you of the fullest cooperation of my delegation.