Index

Suo Motu Statement Made in the Parliament on May 9, 2000
by the Minister of External Affairs 
on the NPT Review Conference

The sixth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is currently taking place in New York. Consistent with our policy India is not attending the Conference.

2. Since independence India has been a strong proponent of global nuclear disarmament and has taken numerous initiatives towards this objective. We remain committed to nuclear non-proliferation. India holds that genuine and lasting non-proliferation can only be achieved through agreements that are based upon equality and non-discrimination, for only these can contribute to global peace and stability. 

3. In 1995, the NPT was extended indefinitely and unconditionally. Hon’ble Members would be aware that 187 countries are today parties to the NPT. The proponents of NPT cite these developments as evidence of NPT’s success; yet it is also clear that there exist strong differences even among the NPT States Parties. Three of the five Review Conferences held so far failed to reach any agreement on a ‘final document’. The non-nuclear weapon States Parties to the NPT have increasingly felt let down by the lack of progress on disarmament, as well as non-compliance with the basic provisions of the Treaty. 

4. The nuclear weapon States Parties to the NPT and their allies have not diminished the role of nuclear weapons in their respective or collective security calculus; on the contrary, new doctrines and justifications have been developed. NATO's new strategic concept, announced last year, ten years after the end of the Cold War, goes to re-emphasising a need for the continued retention of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons sharing arrangements within NATO also pose serious questions about compliance. Such developments are clear and continuing violations of the provision of the NPT. This the NPT community has been unable to discuss, let alone deal with. 

5. One of the basic obligations of nuclear weapons states under the NPT was to prevent further proliferation. The record on this has also not been satisfactory. The nuclear-weapon-states have either been active collaborators in or silent spectators to continuing proliferation, including exports of nuclear weapon related components and technologies.

6. After more than three decades, the nuclear weapon States Parties to the NPT remain to be persuaded to begin any kind of collective, meaningful negotiations aimed at global nuclear disarmament. These countries were expected to display a special responsibility to implement Article VI; instead this special responsibility today appears to be arrogated as a permanent special right to possess nuclear weapons and only for their exclusive security. 

7. India is a nuclear weapon state. Though not a party to the NPT, India's policies have been consistent with the key provisions of NPT that apply to nuclear weapon states. These provisions are contained in Articles I, III and VI. Article I obliges a nuclear weapon state not to transfer nuclear weapons to any other country or assist any other country to acquire them and India’s record on non-proliferation has been impeccable. Article III requires a party to the treaty to provide nuclear materials and related equipment to any other country only under safeguards; India’s exports of such materials have always been under safeguards. Article VI commits the parties to pursue negotiations to bring about eventual global nuclear disarmament. It needs to be emphasised that India today is the only nuclear weapon state that remains committed to commencing negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention in order to bring about a nuclear-weapons-free world, the very objective envisaged in Article VI of the NPT.

8. After the tests undertaken by India in May 1998, we have declared that India shall only maintain a minimum credible deterrent and not engage in any arms race. The role of India's nuclear weapons is defensive; accordingly India has announced a policy of no-first-use and a policy of non-use against non-nuclear weapon states. In fact this meets the demand of unqualified negative security assurances raised by the large majority of non-nuclear weapon states to ensure their security. India has also indicated readiness to provide requisite assurances to the nuclear-weapon-free-zones in existence or those being negotiated. We have also taken new initiatives calling for de-alerting of nuclear weapons as a means of reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized launch. 

9. The NPT community needs to understand that India cannot join the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state. Statements by NPT States Parties about India rolling back its nuclear programme are mere diversions to prevent focussed attention on the basic goals of the NPT.

10. India's commitment to global nuclear disarmament and lasting non-proliferation remains undiluted. While willing to commence negotiations on Nuclear Weapons Convention, India also remains ready to participate in agreed and irreversible steps to prepare the ground for such negotiations. A global no-first-use agreement and a non-use agreement against non-nuclear weapon states would meet the longstanding requirement for legally binding negative security assurances and assurances to nuclear-weapon-free-zones. Another positive development would be a commitment by nuclear weapon states not to deploy nuclear weapons outside their own national territories. Nuclear weapon states also need to take steps to lower the alert status through gradual de-alerting actions, consistent with policies of no-first-use and the defensive role of nuclear weapons. Tactical weapons that lend themselves to war fighting roles need to be eliminated. These would be some positive and concrete steps in the right direction.

11. India has been a responsible member of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and will continue to take initiatives and work with like-minded countries to bring about stable, genuine and lasting non- proliferation, thus leading to a nuclear-weapon-free-world.

May 09, 2000