India assures to respect nuclear-free zone in Latin America

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) India has assured to fully respect the status of the zone of application of the Treaty of Tlatelolco — the treaty for prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, said a ministry official in a speech.

Speaking at the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco at the Mexico City, Mexico, recently, Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary – Disarmament and International Security Affairs, said: “As a nuclear power, India conveys its unambiguous assurances to fully respect the status of the zone of application of the Treaty of Tlatelolco.”

A copy of his speech was released on Thursday by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Likewise, India fully supports the provisions in the Treaty of Tlatelolco relating to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the application of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards,” said .

The Treaty of Tlatelolco, signed on February 14, 1967, by all the Latin American nations except Cuba, is the conventional name given to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba signed the treaty in 1995 and ratified it in 2002.

Referring to Indian stand of a non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament in a time-bound manner, Sharma said, “This goal can be achieved by a step by step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework that is global and non-discriminatory.”

“Our initiatives in the UN General Assembly as well as the Conference on Disarmament (CD) reflect our sincerity in seeking peace and security through the pursuit of a world without weapons of mass destruction,” he added.

Giving examples of the global non-discriminatory treaties on chemical and biological weapons, he asked for complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction and hoped that the Conference on Disarmament “can commence work towards this goal as soon as possible”.

“As a founder member of the IAEA and as a country possessing advanced nuclear technologies, India believes that predictable access to nuclear energy would be critical to promote global economic development and combat climate change,” he added.




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