India calls for united action against terrorist use of WMDs

United Nations: Having been a repeated victim of terrorism, India has called on the international community to join forces to ensure weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and sensitive technologies do not fall into the hands of terrorists and non-state actors.

Participating in a high-level meeting on ‘Countering Nuclear Terrorism’ on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said India supports enhancing international cooperation, including through the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMDs.

“As a victim of terrorism for over three decades, we are fully cognizant of the catastrophic dangers that transfer of WMDs to non-state actors and terrorists could entail,” Puri said here yesterday.

He said 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, including through clandestine proliferation networks.

Puri however added that the focus on non-state actors should not diminish state accountability in combating terrorism, dismantling its support infrastructure or curbing its linkages with WMDs.

Puri said the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level.

However, he stressed that national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour as well as sustained and effective international cooperation.

“All states should scrupulously abide by their international obligations.
We believe that sustained efforts are required to address the issues of nuclear safety and nuclear security in a coherent manner that will help ensure the safe and secure peaceful uses of nuclear energy which remains an essential component of the energy basket for a number of countries,” he said.

Outlining the steps taken by India to prohibit access of WMDs to terrorists and non-state actors, Puri said the country has in place a stringent and effective export control system based on legislation, regulations and a control list of sensitive materials, equipment and technologies consistent with highest international standards.

export controls and is prepared to make its contribution as a full member of the respective multilateral export control regimes,” he said.

India is also setting up a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership which would cooperate with the IAEA and other foreign partners.

It is has made a million-dollar contribution to the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund for 2012-13 and plans to host a workshop later this year to build synergies on nuclear security.

India had taken the lead since 2002 in sponsoring a resolution in the UN General Assembly on ‘Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction’.

The resolution highlights the concerns of the international community with regard to WMD terrorism and calls upon all member states to take measures aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.