"Preventing access to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery to non-state actors is a continuing concern, especially as terrorist groups and non- state actors strike ever deeper roots and exploit different avenues to strike terror," India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal said.
Speaking at a Security Council debate on efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non- state actors, Mr Lal said terror networks and non-state actors, by themselves, do not have any capacity or access to advanced and sensitive technologies and materials.
"Instances of proliferation of WMDs, however, are not unknown to all of us. The possibility of such collusion remains a real cause for concern. This grave threat can only be contained through effective and sustained international cooperation and coordination and monitoring," he said.
In addition to capacity building and training, the international community must endeavour to close gaps in the global legal architecture to combat terrorism and non-state actors' access to WMDs and related material, Mr Lal said.
"An early conclusion of negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism will be helpful," he said.
Further, efforts to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction through global, non-discriminatory and verifiable disarmament treaties such as the Chemical Weapons Convention must also be taken to their logical conclusion.
Underscoring that "synergy" will be key to the success of global efforts, Lal said clandestine proliferation networks, which have been unmasked, have shown that non-state actors can exploit weak links in global supply chains and export controls and undermine international security.
"All states must therefore assume their responsibility to combat proliferation of WMDs by non-state actors. "Prevention remains our best strategy against the threat of WMDs falling into the hands of non-state actors. The enemies of humanity will not hesitate to use WMDs if they are able to. The international community must remain vigilant, strengthen cooperation, build capacity and encourage full assumption of national responsibility by states in accordance with their international obligations," he said.
Lal told the UN meeting that as a country with advanced nuclear technologies, India is fully conscious of the responsibilities that come with the possession of such technologies and the country remains fully committed to strengthening national and global non-proliferation efforts.
He said India also participates actively in the intersessional process on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) that needs to be strengthened including through a legally-binding protocol in light of technology trends and the threat of bio-terrorism.
"Export controls remain the first line of defence in combating WMDs proliferation by non-state actors," Lal said.
India is committed to maintaining effective national export controls consistent with the highest international standards, and has harmonised its legislative and regulatory framework with the control lists, guidelines and best practices of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG), he said.
India's admission to MTCR in June last year is recognition of its non-proliferation record and its ability to contribute to global non-proliferation efforts, Mr Lal added.