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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

India finds loopholes in global pact on arms sale

Yashwant Raj & Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  Washington/New Delhi, March 29, 2013
First Published: 00:36 IST(29/3/2013) | Last Updated: 09:23 IST(29/3/2013)

India is putting strong objections to the first international treaty to regulate $ 70 billion conventional arms trade even as the United Nations member countries are engaged in serious consultations to seal the pact.

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New Delhi finds the final draft of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) not addressing its concerns over the illicit supply of arms to the non-state actors as well as it being tilted towards the exporter states.

India, which is among the top importer of arms in the world, is trying hard to gather opinions against the ATT while major arms supplying countries in the world, including the US, are pushing hard for the pact.

Fighting insurgency on many fronts, from Maoism to Kashmir militancy to northeast ultras, India finds the provisions in the final draft not up to the mark.

The UN Arms Trade Treaty, on the negotiating table since 2006, is up for a final vote at the General Assembly in New York on Thursday. It can only pass by consensus.

Some member nations, possibly India included, are likely to let the treaty pass, despite their reservations. They will opt for the minimally confrontational third way: abstention.

“The ATT should make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other unauthorised and unlawful non-state actors,” said Sujata Mehta, India’s Permanent Representative to Conference on Disarmament, Geneva and Head of the Indian Delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty Conference.

“Without such provisions, the ATT would in fact lower the bar on obligations of all states not to support terrorists and/or terrorists acts enshrined in various UNSC resolutions and anti-terrorism conventions. We cannot allow such a loop hole in the ATT,” she said.

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