India backs off from voting on nuclear weapons ban in UN

Out of 193 member nations, 123 have voted in favour of the resolution, while 38 opposed it and 16 abstained one of which was India.
File : United Nations

The United Nations member nations voted in the majority to start negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons after a UN General assembly committee came forward to have talks on the topic. Out of 193 member nations, 123 have voted in favour of the resolution, while 38 opposed it and 16 abstained one of which was India.

Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament DB Venkatesh Varma said India has been “constrained” to abstain on the resolution and it is “not convinced” that the proposed UN conference in 2017 “can be used to address the expectations of the international community for an effective instrument on nuclear disarmament.

The adopted resolution has proposed to convene a UN conference in 2017 to formulate a legally binding instrument for completely banning nuclear weapons.

The resolution was presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil. Weeks of lobbying have been going on to defer the passing of the resolution by nuclear powers. Four of the five UN Security council member states -Britain, France, Russia and the United States- voted against the resolution along with 34 other nations.

China and Pakistan joined India by abstaining from the voting.

The nations who have opposed the resolution said the issue should be addressed within the limits of Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT).

Mr. Varma said the “deep and substantive” divide in the issue must be bridged by frequent and constructive dialogues. “India attaches the highest priority to nuclear disarmament and shares with the co-sponsors the widely felt frustration that the international community has not been able to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. We also share the deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,” he said in a released explanation.

He also said that India is reserving its positions on the decisions and recommendations of UN’s open-ended group meeting convened in Geneva this year. He also declined the chance of India joining NPT as a non-nuclear state.