India reiterates voluntary moratorium on n-testing


New Delhi : Ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, India has reiterated its commitment to voluntary unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and has signalled its readiness to negotiate a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

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India also drew the attention of the world community to the dangers of proliferation of nuclear weapons in its neighbourhood, a reference to the A.Q. Khan network of nuclear smuggling in Pakistan, and warned against the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of jihadi and non-state actors.

“Despite our well-known reservations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), India is committed to its voluntary unilateral moratorium on nuclear explosive testing,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy Shyam Saran told Global Zero Summit on nuclear disarmament in Paris Wednesday.

The conference held discussions on eliminating all nuclear weapons by 2030.

“We are prepared to negotiate a verifiable FMCT in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We are not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and cannot respond to calls for universal adherence to that treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state,” he said.

Saran reiterated India’s commitment to universal verifiable nuclear disarmament and stressed its “impeccable and universally acknowledged credentials on non-proliferation”, that led the Nuclear Suppliers Group to re-open nuclear trade with India in September 2008.

India has refused to sign the NPT and CTBT on grounds that these treaties are “discriminatory” and divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will represent India at the Nuclear Security Summit that US President Barack Obama will host in Washington in April.

Saran also warned of the proliferation in its neighbourhood.

“India’s security has been adversely impacted by the clandestine proliferation of nuclear weapons in its neighbourhood, often ignored and on occasion, encouraged by certain important countries,” he said in a reference to Pakistan and China’s alleged support to Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme.

“The activities of the so-called A.Q.Khan network is an ominous reminder of the threats India continues to face in this respect,” he said.

“India is deeply worried about the potential nexus between clandestine proliferation and terrorism and the ever-present danger of such weapons or vulnerable nuclear materials falling into the hands of jehadi and non-state actors,” he said.