UNITED NATIONS: India has called for the strengthening of a UN instrument to check the illegal movement of small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives across borders.
India attaches high importance to the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (POA), Nidhi Tewari, Under Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs said here yesterday.
India considers the POA programme a cornerstone of multilateral efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons).
Addressing a preparatory committee on the POA programme, Tewari said India's national security has been adversely affected by terrorism, transnational organised crime, drug trafficking and piracy, in all of which, illicit trade in SALW plays a pernicious role.
"The continued full and effective implementation of the PoA is, therefore, a priority for India, especially as a means for combating terrorism and transnational crime," Tewari said.
She said it is evident that progress has been made in the implementation of the PoA since its adoption in 2001 but at the same time, much remains to be done.
"Despite the efforts of responsible states and international organizations, small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives continue to move illicitly across borders.
It is therefore imperative "to focus our attention on further strengthening the implementation of the PoA," she added.
Tewari further said that with a long border with several neighbours, border management remains a significant challenge for India.
A principle objective of India's border management policy is to secure its borders against illicit trade, including through the setting up of a Department of Border Management as well as establishing bilateral and multilateral avenues of cooperation in this sphere, she added.
Further, India believes that the POA programme should continue to be the main framework for measures to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects and that it is essential to preserve the universal and consensus-driven nature of the POA.