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UN adopts treaty to ban nuclear weapons; India skips talks

India says Geneva-based CD is the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

United Nations. (Photo: Reuters)
United Nations. (Photo: Reuters)

Over 120 countries have voted in the UN to adopt the first-ever global treaty to ban nuclear weapons, even as and other nuclear powers including the US, and boycotted the negotiations for the legally binding instrument to prohibit atomic weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years, was adopted yesterday amid cheers and applause by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands) and one abstention (Singapore).

and other nuclear-armed nations — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel had not participated in the negotiations.

A substantive session was held in March this year to negotiate the legally binding instrument aimed at prohibiting
In October last year, more than 120 nations had voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene a conference to negotiate the legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
had abstained from voting on that resolution. In its Explanation of Vote (EoV) given for its abstention on the resolution in October, had said that it was “not convinced” that the proposed conference could address the longstanding expectation of the international community for a comprehensive instrument on nuclear disarmament.
also maintained that the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) is the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum.
It had further said that it supports the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a Comprehensive Convention, which in addition to prohibition and elimination also includes verification.

Underlining that international verification was essential to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, had said it feels that the current process did not include the verification aspect.

In line with its position that articulated in the EoV, the country had decided not to participate in the negotiations for the treaty.
The treaty will be open for signature to all States at UN Headquarters in September and enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.
A number of countries stayed out of the negotiations, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear-weapon States, as well as many of their allies.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) did not join the talks either.
In a joint press statement, the Permanent Repre-sentatives of the US, UK and France, all veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, said they “have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it...This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.”

“Accession to the ban treaty is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.” The UN envoys of the three nations also criticised the treaty for not providing any solution to the “grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme.”

First Published: Sat, July 08 2017. 21:00 IST