India warns against proliferation of N-weapons

Stresses accountability of nations using atomic energy

India said here on Friday that efforts of the international community to prevent non-state actors from getting access to nuclear arsenal should not dilute the accountability of the states in checking proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

“The international community must join hands in eliminating the risks relating to sensitive materials and technologies falling into hands of terrorists and non-state actors. The focus on non-state actors should in no way diminish state accountability in combating terrorism, dismantling its support infrastructure or its linkages with WMD,” said Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, inaugurating a Workshop on Building New Synergies on Nuclear Security.

Mathai did not mention any particular country, but he was apparently making an indirect reference to global concern over dangers of proliferation from the immediate neighbourhood of India.

Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been under international scrutiny ever since the country’s top nuclear scientist A Q Khan’s clandestine proliferation network came to light. The world community has also been concerned over the risk of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Taliban or other terrorist organisations operating in the country and the region.
Avoid N-terrorism

“We support the broadest possible adherence by states to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment,” said the foreign secretary.
India hosted the workshop in association with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs.

It is being attended by all countries represented on the UN Security Council as well as its new incoming members. Officials from the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Association and representatives of the Committee established under UNSC Resolution 1540 are also taking part in the two-day workshop in New Delhi.

“The primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level, but national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour by States. We should respect national legal frameworks and national practices and processes but at the same time foster an enabling international cooperative framework,” said Mathai.

He reiterated India’s support to international efforts to address challenges posed by nuclear terrorism to international peace and security.

Mathai added, “As a victim of terrorism for over three decades, we are fully cognizant of the catastrophic dangers that transfers of WMDs to non-state and terrorists could entail.”

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