An international treaty being negotiated to regulate the whopping $70 billion global conventional arms trade should have an impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their use particularly by terrorists and unlawful non-state actors, India has said.
Highlighting India’s approach on some key aspects of the proposed Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva Sujata Mehta said that India remains committed to engaging for a balanced and implementable ATT, which recognises arms trade as a legitimate activity for defence, national security and foreign policy interests and in which national implementation and domestic jurisdiction are fully respected.
“The ATT should make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other unauthorised and unlawful non-State actors.
“Without such provisions, the ATT would in fact lower the bar on obligations of all states not to support terrorists and terrorists acts enshrined in various UNSC resolutions and anti-terrorism Conventions. We cannot allow such a loop hole in the ATT,” Mr. Mehta said.
U.N. members are meeting at the world body’s headquarters for a final round of negotiations on the international treaty which seeks to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade. The treaty drafting conference would continue till March 28.
Mr. Mehta added that India has a strong stake in the outcome of the treaty since it is one of the largest importers and is a nation whose security interests have been affected by illicit transfers of weapons.
India has always exercised the highest degree of responsibility in conventional arms transfers and would work to enhance the “prospects for a viable and effective treaty of universal acceptance involving all the main producers, recipients and users of conventional weapons.”
Mr. Mehta further said while the ATT should ensure a balance of obligations between exporting and importing states, the current draft tends to tilt the balance further away from importing countries.
“The ATT should not be an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take unilateral force majeure measures against importing states parties without consequences,” Mr. Mehta said, adding that such a loop hole in the treaty would have the affect of strengthening the hands of a few exporting states at the expense of the legitimate defence and national security interests of a large number of importing states parties.
The imbalance can be corrected by ensuring that rights of importing states are elaborated and further strengthened.
“Any other outcome would not only be not acceptable to a large number of countries, but also underline the irony of a multilateral process involving all U.N. members if in the end it is sought to be used for the benefit of a few,” Mr. Mehta said.