The Hague/New Delhi : Marshall Islands on Monday moved the UN’s International Court of Justice in The Hague against India, accusing it of failing to halt the nuclear arms race, evoking a sharp reaction from India which has written to the ICJ saying NPT provisions cannot be extended to it as a legal obligation.

The tiny South Pacific state began legal proceedings against India at the United Nations’ highest court, as part of cases against three of the world’s nuclear powers — India, Pakistan and the UK — in a bid to infuse new life into disarmament negotiations. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has instituted proceedings at the International Court of Justice against all nuclear weapon states, including India, contending breach of customary law obligations on nuclear disarmament flowing from Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Government believes that given our consistent and principled position on the NPT, to which India is not a party to, NPT provisions cannot be extended to India as a legal obligation. India has written to the ICJ denying this contention and reiterating India’s position of principle on nuclear disarmament,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in New Delhi.

The Marshall Islands filed cases against all nine nations that have declared or are believed to possess nuclear weapons — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. But only the cases against the UK, India and Pakistan got to this preliminary stage as the other six declined to take part, according to the Marshall Islands’ legal team.−PTI

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