Opening Remarks by Ambassador (Dr.) Pankaj Sharma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament at the 2019 Innovations Dialogue on the Role of Science and Technology in the context of International Security and Disarmament held in Geneva on August 19, 2019.

Her Excellency Dr. Tatiana Valovaya, DG UNOG and
Secretary General – CD

His Excellency Brig. Gen. Hassan Saleh Al Nesf, Head NCPW, Qatar

Ambassador Felix Baumann, Ambassador/PR of Switzerland

Mr. ToralfPilz, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany

Dr. Renata Dwan, Director, UNIDIR


Distinguished Experts and friends,

It is a great honour for me to welcome you all to this important event on the Role of Science and Technology in the Context of International Security and Disarmament.  We could not have chosen a better venue than this room which is almost like a control room for space launch.

At a time when we are witnessing growing divergences among countries in many areas, it is very heartening to see that the international community is united on this matter.  This is also natural as the developments in Science and Technology are taking place at an unprecedented speed and the world is grappling with their potential impact in both civilian and military areas.  The dual use nature of these applications adds another layer of complexity.  While they pose challenges for the international security, they also bring immense opportunities for societal benefit and peaceful uses. 

This seminar is being held in response to the wish of the UN General Assembly to convene a focused informal seminar to facilitate dialogue among relevant stakeholders on current developments in Science and Technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament affairs.  India has had the honour of tabling a Resolution on this subject at the UNGA First Committee since 2017,which has been adopted by consensus since then. While the Resolution in its current form is relatively new, it would be important to recall that this issue was first added to the agenda of the First Committee in 1988 by India and has been on the agenda since then. The first Resolution on this subject was adopted by the 43rd Session of UNGA in December 1988 and a report by the UN Secretary General in pursuance of this Resolution noted that the international community should position itself better to follow technological change, a requirement in which the United Nations could assist. We will hear more about UN Secretary General’s efforts from the High Representative of Disarmament H.E. Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu later today.        

The recent editions of the Resolution have similarly requested the Secretary General to submit to the Assembly reports on current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts, with an annex containing submissions from Member States giving their views on the matter.  Last year’s report underlined the need for better coordination among the various efforts under way across the United Nations and within Member States to address developments in science and technology, in order to ensure that the international community’s efforts in this regard are both coherent and comprehensive.         

This seminar is a modest attempt in that direction.  While the report touched upon a number of areas including artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, Biology and chemistry, advanced missile and missile-defence technologies, Space-based technologies, Electromagnetic technologies and materials technologies.  Today’s seminar focuses on digital technologies.


 As you can appreciate, an event of this magnitude could not have been possible without the hard work of Ms. Kerstin Vingard, Mr. Oleg Demidov, Ms. Alisha Chenoy and other colleagues working under the leadership of Dr. Renata Dwan.

My task will be incomplete without expressing my most sincere gratitude to our co-partners, Germany, Qatar and Switzerland, who have very generously supported this initiative from the very inception both through ideas as well as funding.  And finally, the event is success because you are here.  I thank you for your participation.

Thank you. 

Permanent Mission of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva