India on Friday did not to take part in a resolution by a UN General Assembly committee to launch negotiations on a treaty that will ban nuclear weapons. Apart from India, China, Pakistan and 13 other countries also abstained from voting. Indian officials said they will submit an explanation on Saturday.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, who was the chairperson of the Expert Group on Nuclear Disarmament in 2010-11, however, expressed his regret over India’s decision. “The pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons has been a national objective for last 28 years, and India is neither with the naysayers nor with those who voted in favour… it’s a cowardly act,” he told The Indian Express.
The resolution, presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil, was adopted by a vote of 123 to 38. Four of the five UN Security Council nuclear powers — Britain, France, Russia and the United States — voted against it. They said nuclear disarmament is an issue that should be taken care of during negotiations on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The resolution will go to the full General Assembly for a vote in December, reported The Guardian. If passed, negotiations on the new treaty will start in March 2017. However, it is a non-binding resolution.
Executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Beatrice Fihn [pictured above] said the treaty will not eliminate nuclear weapons overnight. “But it will establish a new international legal standard, stigmatising nuclear weapons and compelling nations to take urgent action on disarmament.”