General Assembly Security Council

UNSC 1540 Committee's annual briefing


Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


30 March 2021



Thank you Madam President. I thank my dear friend Ambassador Juan Ramon Ramírez, the Chair of the 1540 Committee, for his briefing on the Committee’s activities. I would like to place on record my appreciation to his predecessor Ambassador Djani of Indonesia for his chairmanship of the 1540 Committee.


2. Let me begin by reaffirming India’s firm and unwavering commitment to global efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The access to these weapons of mass destruction by non-state actors adds a serious dimension to threats posed by these weapons to international peace and security.


3. Resolution 1540 identifies terrorists and terrorist groups as key non-State actors, who may acquire, develop, traffic in or use weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. As a victim of terrorism for several decades, we are fully cognizant of the cataclysmic dangers that access of WMD to terrorist groups could entail. In this regard, India has been co-sponsoring an annual resolution in the General Assembly, since 2002, on “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” that has been adopted by consensus.


4. Preventing non-State actors, including terrorists, from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction is among the most important responsibilities of the international community. Bio-security and bio-safety measures have assumed particular salience in the context of the pandemic to prevent non-state actors, especially terrorists, from taking advantage of the situation. The focus on non-state actors, however, should in no way diminish State accountability in preventing access of non-state actors to these weapons, criminalizing and controlling such access and dismantling its support infrastructure to such non-state actors. In this regard, my delegation accords great importance and support to the 1540 Committee’s mandate and its work.


5. India, with its longstanding commitment to global non-proliferation, has established a strong law-based export control system to implement resolution 1540. I am happy to note that India is among the few countries who regularly provide national reports on the implementation of resolution 1540 to the Committee. We have also offered to share our knowledge and technical expertise in various areas as part of the Committee’s assistance framework. In this context, India in collaboration with Germany, the 1540 Committee and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), had hosted a 2-day India-Wiesbaden Conference on “Securing Global Supply Chains through Government-Industry Partnerships towards Effective Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004)” in New Delhi in April 2018. India had also hosted the “Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism” in February 2017. We fully support the enhanced cooperation with international organisations like the IAEA, OPCW and other relevant UN bodies to prevent non-state actors from acquiring WMDs.


6. The Committee’s work last year was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to which much of the Committee’s planned activities could not take place. But the Committee can derive satisfaction from the fact that it was one of the few Committees to hold an in-person meeting in 2020. We recommend that the Committee should take a similar lead this year as well and set an example.


7. 2021 holds great significance for the 1540 Committee. The focus, understandably, should be on the Comprehensive Review, which has already been delayed by one year. As part of the review, we expect the Committee to undertake a series of activities this year, which will chart the future course of the Committee and its mandate.  The completion of a robust Comprehensive Review before the end of the year should be a common objective and priority. We are therefore concerned that 2021 Programme of Work of the Committee has not been adopted yet. The Committee has already lost two months and we urge the Committee to adopt the Programme of Work at the earliest so that its activities can commence without any delay.


I thank you Madam President.