Statement by India during the thematic debate on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, October 2020

India has the honour to introduce under this cluster our draft resolution on the Role of Science and Technology in the context of International Security and Disarmament.  India is pleased to note that this resolution has been adopted by consensus at the First Committee for the last three years and attracted co-sponsors across the regions. The resolution, inter alia, encourages Member States to facilitate multilateral dialogue as well as dialogue among relevant stakeholders and for interested Member States to submit their views on latest developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts. 

2. India is deeply aware of the need for enhanced international cooperation and for promotion of peaceful uses of science and technology through relevant means, including technology transfer, sharing of information and exchange of equipment and materials. In this regard, India believes that it is imperative that international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military applications are effectively regulated, keeping in mind legitimate defense requirements of all States.

3. At the same time, India is mindful that the rapid pace of developments in emerging technologies also pose potential challenges for international security and peace. As we all know, cyberspace increasingly touches upon every aspect of our lives.However, technological advancements and increased reliance on ICT are coupled with incremental challenges to the international security through malicious cyber-activity, from both state and non-state actors. In this regard, India remains committed to a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace. In this context, wewelcome the ongoing discussions in the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE).

4. Increasing convergence between various disciplines, e.g. biology, chemistry, computing, engineering, materials science and nanotechnology etc., while providing significant benefits, also poses serious challenges in view of the possibility of their malicious use, including by non-State actors and terrorists. The final document on the 2016 comprehensive review of the status of implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540 (2004) noted that the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors is complicated by the rapid advances in science, technology and international commerce that could give rise to a risk of the misuse of such advances.

5.     Keeping in view of the cross-cutting nature of these developments, an inter-disciplinary approach is essential to understand their implications as well as to formulate appropriate responses to prevent their adverse impact. India supports and actively participates in discussions relating to emerging technologies in various multilateral fora of the United Nations and specialized agencies, and within the framework of international treaties to which India is a party to. In this context we may also recall the contribution of the Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters which has also kept a number of scientific and technological developments with possible implications for security and disarmament on its agenda.

6.     A number of the developments in science and technology are increasingly being contributed to by the private sector, hence it is essential to have a multi-stakeholder approach encompassing the participation of governments, relevant international organisations and private sector to take stock of such developments and develop an appropriate policy-framework to deal with them in all their aspects. 

7.     India would like to thank the UN Secretary General for submitting the updated report A/75/221, as mandated by the 2019 resolution, on the recent developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts. The report provides an overview of the latest developments, in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomous Systems, Digital Technologies, Biology and Chemistry, Aerospace technologies, Electromagnetic Technologies and Materials technologies. The report also informs the progress made in discussions on these aspects at relevant intergovernmental processes, bodies and instruments and highlights the important role that the United Nations is bound to play in addressing the emerging challenges before they can pose a danger to peace and security.

8.     Given the relevance and resonance of this cross-cutting subject and its significance for all Member States, India hopes that Member States would extend their support as in previous years by adopting the resolution by consensus this year.  We would also encourage Member States to co-sponsor this resolution and join us in this collective endeavour.

Permanent Mission of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva