India under pressure to sign Mine Ban Treaty on its 10th Anniv

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New Delhi, Sep 27 (UNI) Marking the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today renewed pressure on India to sign the treaty, which bans production and use of landmines across the world.

The ICBL, which has spearheaded the movement against use of mines, regretted that India was among the 40 countries in the world that have not endorsed the treaty.

Ms Sylvie Brigot, Executive Director of the ICBL, said India being the largest democracy, must assume a leadership role and sign the treaty.

''It should not wait for its neighbours to do so and can take a high moral platform by signing the treaty,''she said addressing a conference here.

She said the ICBL is also engaged in dialogue with Pakistan on the issue and Islamabad has maintained that a proposal of moratorium must come from New Delhi first.

The treaty signed in 1997 at Ottawa, and therefore known as the Ottawa Treaty, bans the use, production, stockpiling, and sale, transfer, or export of anti-personnel landmines. A total of 155 countries including Iraq, Indonesia and Kuwait, have signed it.

India has however maintained that it has preferred judicious use of mines for purely operational necessities. ''India has never used landmines in armed conflicts at the international level. It is committed against indiscriminate use of landmines and is among only 26 countries in the world to ratify the five protocols of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW),'' pointed out Brig A K Bhattacharya, Engineer-in-Chief of the Indian Army.

He also said the Army has always taken care to ensure that all mines are marked and detectable. ''We have also maintained records of minefields and see to it that the troops that lay them are also involved in their demining. This ensures double correctability,'' he said.

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