INDIA AT UN

India calls for action on Pakistan-N.Korea nuclear-missile links

CORRECTION-NKOREA-MILITARY-NUCLEAR-MISSILE-DIPLOMACY Representational image | AFP

India has called attention to the Pakistan-North Korea nuclear-missile nexus and said the international community should act against those involved in such deals.

"The international community should take a united stand against those who indulge in or benefit from clandestine (nuclear) proliferation linkages," Amandeep Singh Gill, India's principal disarmament affairs diplomat, told the General Assembly's Committee on Disarmament on Thursday.

"India also remains concerned about proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies, which has adversely impacted India's national security," he said while expressing concern over North Korea's nuclear activities.

Although he did not name Pakistan, the implications of the remark were clear in the context of Pyongyang's nuclear tests.

The two countries have traded missile technology for nuclear know-how with Islamabad's top atomic scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan playing a key role.

Pakistan's nuclear-for-missile technologies cooperation going back to at least the 1990s has been confirmed by United States officials and documented by US and international media.

Gill's statement follows India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's call last month for an investigation into the nuclear-for-missile ties between those two countries when she participated in a tri-lateral meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

She did not name Pakistan either, but hinting at it she said that North Korea's proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable.

Gill, who is India's Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, said: "It is a matter of deep concern that DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) has acted in violation of its international commitments.

"We call upon DPRK to refrain from such actions which adversely impact peace and stability in the region and beyond," he said.

Gill also denounced an effort by Mexico and five other countries that call themselves the "New Agenda Coalition" to move a resolution demanding that India give up its nuclear weapons and sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"The question of India joining the NPT as NNWS (non-nuclear weapon states) does not arise," Gill said. "At the same time, we support upholding and strengthening global non-proliferation objectives."

Speaking on behalf of the group, Mexico's Alternate Permanent Representative Juan Sandoval Mendiolea said on Wednesday that their resolution would urge "India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the (Non-Proliferation) Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states promptly and without conditions, and to place all their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards."

The group that includes Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Mexico did not make a similar demand on the other nuclear powers, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - or even North Korea.

"We have updated our agenda and we hope our friends will renew theirs and focus on the real implementation deficits on non-proliferation and disarmament," Gill said.

Although it was not a party to the NPT, he said that "India abides by the principles and objectives of the NPT, including its nuclear disarmament aspirations. India is committed to making its contribution to strengthening non-proliferation."

Gill reiterated India's commitment "as a responsible nuclear power" to "a policy of credible minimum deterrence based on a No First Use posture and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states".

"We remain committed to maintaining a unilateral voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing," he added. - IANS

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