India has warned of the inherent dangers in "nuclear brinkmanship" pursued by countries as a cover for cross-border terrorism, days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan drummed up hysteria over a possible nuclear war in South Asia, after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Noting that the global security situation is in a flux, Ambassador Pankaj Sharma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), said that as a responsible nuclear power, India's nuclear doctrine continues to stress a policy of credible minimum deterrence with a posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states.
He made the comments on Monday at the General Debate of the First Committee, which deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community.
"The global security situation is in a flux. There is concern over the demise of some of the landmark disarmament treaties and agreements and the lowering of the nuclear threshold and the inherent dangers in nuclear brinkmanship, pursued by countries as a cover for cross-border terrorism," he said.
Mr Sharma's comments come days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered his maiden speech at the UN General Debate, where in his almost 50-minute address, he devoted half of his time to India and Kashmir, drumming up hysteria over nuclear war.
In a strong reply, India had said Mr Khan's threat of "nuclear devastation qualifies as brinkmanship, not statesmanship."
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. However, New Delhi has asserted the scrapping of provisions in Article 370 is an "internal matter" and asked Islamabad to accept the reality.
India has also said that there is no scope for any third party mediation in the Kashmir issue.
Mr Sharma further asserted that the disarmament machinery has not lived up to the expectations, as evident in the deadlock in the CD for over two decades and in the inability of United Nations Disarmament Commission to hold its substantive session this year.
"Yet, there is hope and optimism due to our underlying belief in the value of dialogue and cooperation," he added.
The Conference on Disarmament had failed in its efforts throughout the year to adopt a Programme of Work, he said, adding that this was the result of the lack of political will and "fissiparous tendencies" and could not be attributed to any shortcomings in the rules of procedure.
"We need to preserve the CD as the sole disarmament negotiating forum and get back to substantive work as per its mandate. India stands ready to work with fellow members on all the core items on CD's agenda," Mr Sharma said, underscoring India's commitment to the goal of universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament.
New Delhi has also called for complete elimination of nuclear weapons through a step by step process, as outlined in the Working Paper on Nuclear Disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2006.
As it has earlier done, India will be tabling four draft resolutions; namely "Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons'', "Reducing Nuclear Danger'', "Measures to Prevent Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction'' and "Role of Science and Technology in the context of International Security and Disarmament''.
Pankaj Sharma also noted that without diminishing the priority, India attaches to disarmament and New Delhi supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the CD of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
Mr Sharma stressed the importance of full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, especially in view of the tragic instances of use of chemical weapons in various parts of the world in recent years.
"India attaches immense importance to the Convention and supports the strengthening of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to enable it to fulfill its mandate," he said.