At UN, India defends ‘pre-emptive’ hits

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Stating that some states are resorting to proxy war by supporting non-state actors such as terrorist groups to evade international censure, India said at the UN on Wednesday that a country would be compelled to undertake “pre-emptive strike” when confronted by an “imminent armed attack” from a non-state actor operating in a third state. The government also highlighted several proxy cross-border terror attacks, including

Pulwama

and

Pathankot

, perpetrated against India from its neighbourhood, even though it didn’t name

Pakistan

.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN K Nagaraj Naidu said at an Arria-Formula meeting organised by Mexico that non-state actors such as terrorist groups often attack states from

remote locations

within other host states, using the sovereignty of that host state as a “smokescreen”.
On this, a growing number of states believe that the use of force in self-defence against a non-state actor operating in the territory of another host state can be undertaken if the “non-state actor has repeatedly undertaken armed attacks against the state; the host state is unwilling to address the threat posed by the non-state actor; the host state is actively supporting and sponsoring the attack by the non-state actor,” ambassador Naidu said.
“In other words, a state would be compelled to undertake a pre-emptive strike when it is confronted by an

imminent armed attack

from a non-state actor operating in a third state,” he said on Wednesday.
“This state of affairs exonerates the affected state from the duty to respect, vis-a-vis the aggressor, the general obligation to refrain from the use of force,” Naidu said.
Arria Formula meetings are informal meetings of the

Security Council

, on ‘upholding the collective security system of the UN Charter: the use of force in international law, non-state actors and legitimate self-defence’.
Naidu told the meeting that India has been subject to cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by non-state actors with the active complicity of “another host state”, a clear reference to Pakistan.
He stressed that exercising self-defence is a nation’s primary right when a situation demands “immediate and proportionate action” and applies also to attacks by non-state actors. “Some states are resorting to proxy war by supporting non-state actors such as terrorist groups to evade international censure. Such support to non-state actors has ranged from providing and equipping the terrorist groups with training, financing, intelligence and weapons to logistics and recruitment facilitation,” he said.

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