Inaugural Address by Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary, MEA at Seminar on UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)
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  • Seminar on UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) “Identification of effective implementation practices a decade after its existence”, New Delhi, 25-26 February 2014

    Inaugural Address by Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary (Disarmament & International Security Affairs), MEA

    Director General IDSA Dr Arvind Gupta, Professor Wyn Bowen, Monsieur Francois Cottu of UNODA, Mr Michael Aho of the 1540 Committee, Professor Balachandran, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to begin by complementing the three organisers – IDSA, King’s College and ISS - for putting together a good programme and for bringing together a galaxy of practitioners and thought leaders on this important instrument. In a few weeks, Resolution 1540 would be ten years old. This workshop is therefore an excellent opportunity to identify the implementation practices that have proven their effectiveness nationally, and that are worthy of emulation by member states. Professor Balachandran, you mentioned the need for engagement between civil society, including industry and policy practitioners in the area of export controls. This Workshop is a good example of that. There are many in the audience today, academics, former practitioners, with whom we in the policy area have worked together since the 1990s on the evolution of our export control system and I want to acknowledge their valuable contribution.

    2. India has been unwavering in its commitment to global efforts for preventing the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. We recognize the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery as a major international challenge. As a victim of terrorism for over three decades, we are also painfully aware of the catastrophic consequences that transfers of WMDs to non-state and terrorists could entail. This is not an academic concern. We are still living with the consequences of clandestine proliferation networks which have led to insecurity for all and must not be allowed to reappear. The international community must continue to work together 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.

    3. This distinguished audience is aware that India had supported the general objectives of UNSCR 1540. The resolution is in line with our own General Assembly resolution “Measures to prevent terrorists from gaining access to WMD”, adopted by consensus every year since it was first introduced in 2002, and now co-sponsored by more than 70 member states. India filed its report on UNSCR 1540 in November 2004 and has submitted periodic updates, including additional and updated information submitted on 31 May 2013. An Indian Expert participated in the work of the 1540 Committee between 2007 and 2009. As member of the Security Council, India supported resolution 1977 (2011) extending the mandate of the 1540 Committee for a period of 10 years until 25 April 2021.

    4. Again this audience is aware that the extended timeline has been included with a view to help plan on long-term and predictable basis assistance and cooperation programmes for States requesting such assistance from the 1540 Committee. We have expressed our readiness to offer assistance to other countries in capacity building and in fulfilling their obligations under UNSCR 1540. In fact we have shared our experience, especially legislative, with countries in Asia in bilateral and other interactions. Our support for this seminar is in line with this approach as part of which we also organised in end-2012 the 1540 Workshop on Building New Synergies on Nuclear Security following a commitment announced at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

    5. Nationally, India has enacted a number of effective laws and regulations and has put in place institutions and administrative mechanisms to prohibit WMD access to terrorists and non state actors. After the adoption of UNSCR 1540, India took additional steps to further strengthen its existing legislative and regulatory mechanism for exercising controls over WMDs and their means of delivery. The WMD Act enacted in June 2005 provides for an integrated and over-arching legislation on prohibiting unlawful activities in relation to WMDs, their delivery systems and related materials, equipment and technologies. Amendments to the 1992 Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act passed in 2010 further strengthened our national export control system, including with regard to the challenge of intangible transfers that was mentioned this morning. India is committed to maintaining effective national export controls consistent with the highest international standards and is prepared to make its contribution as a full member of the respective multilateral export control regimes.

    6. India has fulfilled its obligations under the CWC including destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles in advance of the timeline agreed under the Convention. India is also a State Party to the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and participates actively in the inter-sessional programme under the Convention. We welcomed President Obama’s initiative in convening a Summit on Nuclear Security in Washington in April 2010. India also welcomed the adoption of the Summit Communiqué and the Work Plan which establishes a common platform for action by all participating states. The External Affairs Minister, who will lead our delegation to the next Summit at The Hague, is looking forward to a productive meeting. We see the NSS process as building pragmatic and purposeful frameworks setting benchmarks and standards, and as fostering confidence for international cooperation to supplement and not replace existing multilateral institutions such as the IAEA. India believes that the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level, but national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behavior by States. All States should scrupulously abide by their international obligations.

    7. The 1540 resolution has contributed to greater awareness amongst States on the need for effective measures at the national level to prevent terrorists and non-state actors gaining access to sensitive materials and technologies. Reporting by states of their implementation measures facilitates the overview of the implementation by the 1540 Committee. Measures for the implementation of the resolution should be undertaken by the states based on their national practices and processes. Assistance and cooperation for States requesting such assistance is a key element of the implementation process. Such assistance programmes should be suited to the specific national or regional requirements. The 1540 Committee has also established cooperative relations with several international organizations. Consistent with their respective mandates, the IAEA and the OPCW can contribute to the objectives of the 1540 resolution. The full implementation of the Communiqué and work Plan of the Nuclear Security Summit can also contribute to our common goals.

    8. I am grateful to the organizers for inviting me to share a few thoughts at the outset of this seminar. My message today is that India remains committed to achieving the objectives of the 1540 resolution. India is also prepared to render necessary assistance to states requesting such assistance in fulfilling their obligations under the resolution. All member states should feel that they have a common stake in the successful implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540. They should also have access to a suite of good practices that they can then tailor to their specific national frameworks. I am confident that this seminar would play a useful role in this regard. I wish you the very best with your deliberations. Thank you.

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