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Anand Ratkal asked: What is the Indian viewpoint on the global nuclear disarmament issue and the NPT and CTBT in particular?

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  • Reshmi Kazi replies: India has been a consistent advocate of global nuclear disarmament since the inception of the concept in the United Nations. India, faced with two nuclear neighbours with one of them declaring its nuclear arsenal as India-specific, had to reluctantly become a nuclear weapon state. However, India remains committed to the idea of negotiating a universal, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, one that takes into account India’s national security interests.

    India and the NPT

    The UN Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 1887 on nuclear non-proliferation which among other actions called on states not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to join it. However, India responded to the resolution by declaring categorically that it will not join the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state since nuclear weapons constitute an integral part of India’s security. Till date, the NPT recognises only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, UK, France and China) as nuclear weapon powers and mandates that other countries can be a party to the NPT only as a non-nuclear weapon state. This is not acceptable to India and hence the issue of India joining the NPT does not arise. India’s stated position on the NPT is that it “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.”

    India and the CTBT

    India’s stand on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) too is a principled one. India has declared that it would be unable to sign and ratify the CTBT in its present discriminatory form. However, India has pledged to continue with its voluntary and unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing. India is the only nuclear weapon state to declare that it believes its security would be enhanced, not diminished, in a world free of nuclear weapons.