India wants N-power status to sign NPT

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday snubbed the UN Security Council’s unanimous resolution on nuclear disarmament, saying it would not sign the NPT unless it is given the status enjoyed by the five legal nuclear powers.

Indian envoy to the UN Hardeep Puri in his letter to his US counterpart Susan E. Rice, who is also the current president of the Security Council, said India could not accept foreign prescriptions on the issue since it would have implications for the country’s sovereign rights as a nuclear power, albeit outside the purview of the NPT.

‘India cannot accept externally prescribed norms or standards on matters within the jurisdiction of its Parliament or which are not consistent with India’s constitutional provisions and procedures, or are contrary to India’s national interests or infringe on its sovereignty,’ Mr Puri said.

‘India cannot comply with non-proliferation obligations to which it has not provided its sovereign consent.’

Mr Puri said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stated in parliament inJuly this year that there was no question of India joining the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state.

‘Nuclear weapons are an integral part of India’s national security and will remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament.’

‘We remain committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing,’ Mr Puri wrote.

‘We do not subscribe to any arms race, including a nuclear arms race. We have always tempered the exercise of our strategic autonomy with a sense of global responsibility. We affirm our policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.’