Statement by Ambassador Pankaj Sharma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament during the Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament on Women´s Participation and Role in International Security held on August 26, 2021

India welcomes the discussion on ‘Women´s participation and role in International Security’ at the Conference on Disarmament, which we consider as relevant and timely. Mainstreaming the gender perspective in the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda is a sine qua non for lasting peace and security.

2.       We thank the distinguished speakers and panelists, H.E. Ms. Carolina Valdivia Torres, H.E. Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu,  H.E. Ms. Bonnie Jenkins, Ambassador Federico Villegas and Ms. Renata Hessmann Dalaqua, for their inspiring and thought-provoking presentations today. We also salute the leadership provided by H.E. Dr. Tatiana Valovaya, Secretary General of the Conference on Disarmament. We believe that today’s discussions can further contribute to our shared interest on this subject.

3.       The UNSC resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, while underlining the critical role of women’s equal participation and full involvement in efforts towards the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, also highlights the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution. It recognizes women as agents, integral to achieving peace, stability, and security.

4.       Today, the proliferation of armed conflicts and their evolving nature, involving armed non state actors have placed women and girls in war-torn, fragile and humanitarian contexts at great risk of being subjected to violence and discrimination. Addressing such complex challenges require close cooperation, collaboration and coordination between Member States and other relevant stakeholders across multiple fora and in a consistent manner.  

5.       India attaches high importance to promoting gender equality and the meaningful participation and agency of women in arms control, non-proliferation and in disarmament fora. As we can all appreciate, this is a cross-cutting issue having a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dimension, and requires the active participation of all Member States. India has been an active participant in the comprehensive deliberations on women related issues at the various UN bodies. India has also been among the major contributors towards the UN Women since its inception.

6.       India has a long-standing commitment to promoting women’s participation and leadership in international security matters. Indian women diplomats including Ambassador Arundhati Ghosh, Ambassador Savitri Kunadi and Ambassador Sujata Mehta, among many others have all made significant contributions as leaders and decision makers in various fields of international security, including in this very Conference on Disarmament as Permanent Representatives of India. More recently, India had the unique distinction where our Ministers of External Affairs and Defence were both women. India also has a number of distinguished women in leadership roles in various Ministries of the Government of India including our current Minister of State for External Affairs Her Excellency Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi.

7.  India  works closely with UN Women, UN Peacekeeping and other relevant UN agencies to advance women’s role and participation in matters relating to international security. India’s contribution of the Female Formed Police Unit (FFPU)   to  the UN Mission in Liberia  represented  the  first-ever  women  contingent  in  the  history  of  UN  peacekeeping  and  was  lauded  as  a role  model  by  the UN  when the UN Mission in Liberia  was  wound  up  in March 2018.

8.       It is important to recognize the need to increase and institutionalize the involvement of women not only in conflict prevention and
resolution but also in various processes and forums related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. This requires not only normative advice but capacity building and institution building at the ground. In this context, India actively encourages participation of women diplomats in its Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship, launched in 2019. India will follow the same approach in its Disarmament for Youth initiative through outreach and engagement of young women in various programmes.  India has hosted specialized courses for women military officers in partnership with UN Women at the Centre for UN Peace Keeping in New Delhi. India has also taken the lead in hosting specialized training courses for peacekeepers on sexual violence in armed conflict situations.

9.       India is pleased to note various efforts by member States to mainstream gender perspectives and promote equal participation of women in various disarmament and non-proliferation forums and instruments. A number of First Committee Resolutions and GGE Reports   exhort the international community towards achieving this aim, and enjoy India’s support.

10.     The CD, on its part,  has also made a modest, yet significant step by trying to mainstream gender perspective in its rules of procedure. India supported the initiatives of the distinguished Australian and Canadian Presidencies of the Conference on Disarmament for technical updates to the CD’s Rules of Procedure to make them gender inclusive and remains optimistic that in the near future, the language of the CD’s Rules of Procedure will indeed reflect the equality of women and men.

11.     India stands ready to contribute to further international efforts - both to the normative and the practical aspects to promote women’s participation and role in disarmament and international security.


Thank you.

Permanent Mission of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva