New Delhi, Oct. 26: At a time when Pakistan has been put on the defensive over reports of clandestine help to North Korea’s nuclear programme, India has managed to get a resolution unanimously passed at the UN on the need for urgent measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
The resolution was adopted last night without a vote in the first committee of the UN which deals with disarmament related issues. It is an indication of India’s growing clout among members of the international community. The last resolution moved by India at the UN in 1998 on de-alerting of nuclear weapons was also passed, but with a very narrow margin.
“Recognising the determination of the international community to combat terrorism, as evident in relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions,” the document expressed deep concern at the “growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and especially that terrorists may seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction”.
The resolution emphasised that progress is urgently needed in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation to help maintain international peace and security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism. It also urged the member states “to undertake and strengthen national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture” and asked them to “inform, on a voluntary basis, the secretary-general of the measures taken in this regard”.
The resolution is non-binding. This means that apart from putting the moral weight on member nations to take urgent steps to ensure terrorists do not lay their hands on these dangerous weapons, it does not call for making UN inspections mandatory on states which are suspects.
In fact, the resolution does not name any country. The thrust of the resolution is on “non-state actors”.
Moved by India, the resolution was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, countries from Latin America and many of the NAM member states. But more important, no country — neither Iraq nor Pakistan — opposed it.
Indian officials point out that since the resolution was adopted without a vote, it is an indication of the inclination of member states to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
“The resolution is a benchmark for its political acceptance,” foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.