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India Refuses To Sign NPT

PTI 25 Sep 2009, 2:26:28 AM IST
PTI

Rejecting efforts to impose the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on it through the UN Security Council resolution, India has made it clear that it will not sign the pact as a non-weapon state as atomic arsenals are integral to its security.

India has made it known to the Security Council that it cannot accept the "externally prescribed norms or standards" on issues that are contrary to its national interests or infringe on its sovereignty.

In a letter to UNSC president Susan E Rice of the US, Indian Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri questioned the role of the world body in enforcing treaties like Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even while he reiterated India's commitment to no-testing, no-first-use of nuclear weapons and non-discriminatory universal non-proliferation.

"India cannot accept calls for universalization of NPT," he said as the UNSC passed a resolution asking all non-NPT nations to sign the treaty which India considers flawed and discriminatory.

Citing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement in Parliament on July 29, Puri said "there is no question of India joining the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. Nuclear weapons are an integral part of India s national security and will remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament."

Puri said India "cannot accept externally prescribed norms or standards on matters within the jurisdiction of its Parliament or which are not consistent with India s constitutional provisions and procedures or are contrary to India s national interests or infringe on its sovereignty."

The envoy said India cannot comply with non-proliferation obligations to which it has not given its consent.

"We cannot accept any obligations arising from treaties that India has not signed or ratified. This position is consistent with the fundamental principles of international law and the Law of Treaties," Puri said in the letter.

"The role of the Security Council would arise if those treaties themselves provide for such a role," he said.

India, which has been maintaining that NPT is discriminatory and flawed, pointed out that it had in 1992 prescribed norms and standards for national or international conduct which the Security Council itself "must scrupulously accept".

"We remain committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. We do not subscribe to any arms race, including a nuclear arms race. We have always tempered the exercise of our strategic autonomy with a sense of global responsibility," Puri said.

Underlining India's commitment to universal disarmament and non-proliferation, Puri said "it is clear that the international community would look to the countries with substantial nuclear arsenals represented on the Council for meaningful steps towards nuclear disarmament."

The Indian envoy said "working towards our common objectives would require a steadfast commitment to genuine multilateralism to ensure viable and enduring solutions to global peace and security".

"A more representative Security Council would add credibility and vitality to such efforts," he said adding India is committed to working with the international community to "advance our common non-proliferation and disarmament objectives so that we are able to fulfill the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons."

He said India supports international cooperative measures to combat nuclear terrorism and to improve nuclear security, and in this context, looks forward to the convening of the Global Summit on Nuclear Security in 2010.

Puri pointed out that India had placed its atomic installations under IAEA safeguards which are crucial to enable the country meet its energy needs while reducing proliferation risks. 

Consideration could also be given to specific legal measures, including a Global No-First Use Agreement and negotiations of a Convention on the Prohibition of the use of Nuclear weapons, he said.  PTI