Washington, April 2 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to develop and deploy technology to defend against nuclear terrorism as President Barack Obama called on global leaders to jointly confront the growing threat of the Islamic State.
He made the pledge Friday at the conclusion of a two-day Nuclear Security Summit that brought 50 world leaders to Washington to discuss how to prevent terrorists and other non state actors from gaining access to nuclear materials.
Modi had at a working dinner for the summiteers hosted by Obama Thursday night highlighted the global nature of terrorism and how state actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists presented the greatest risk.
India, he said at the plenary session Friday, will continue to accord a high national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialised manpower.
He also asserted that India will counter nuclear smuggling and strengthen the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material with a dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team.
India will also host a meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in 2017.
In a session on counterterrorism at the summit held under the shadow of Brussels and Lahore terror attacks, world leaders discussed ways to prevent militant groups from obtaining nuclear materials that could be used to make a “dirty bomb”.
“There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they would certainly use it to kill as many innocent people as possible,” said Obama hosting his fourth and last such summit.
“We need to do even more to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters,” he told the world leaders discussing the ongoing fight against the Islamic State at Friday’s closing session.
“We all have a role to play. We’re all going to have to do more when it comes to intelligence-sharing,” said Obama. “We simply cannot afford to have critical intelligence not being shared as needed-whether between governments or within governments.”
“Looking around this room, I see nations that represent the overwhelming majority of humanity-from different regions, races, religions, cultures,” he said.
“The fight against ISIL will continue to be difficult, but, together, we are making real progress, and I’m absolutely confident that we will prevail and destroy this vile organization,” he said.
A Communiqué issued after the summit said “the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to international security, and the threat is constantly evolving.”
The communiqué reaffirmed “that measures to strengthen nuclear security will not hamper the rights of States to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”
“More work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes,” it said.
The summit also resolved to implement several action plans “in our continued collective determination to ensure political momentum and to continuously strengthen nuclear security at national, regional, and global levels.”
A joint statement on strengthening global nuclear security said sustained action and ambition on nuclear security was needed to address continuing and evolving nuclear security challenges.
To this end the summit resolved to establish a Nuclear Security Contact Group tasked with discussing a broad range of nuclear security-related issues, including identifying emerging trends that may require more focused attention.
It is also tasked with promoting and assessing implementation of nuclear security commitments, developing and maintaining linkages to nongovernmental experts and nuclear industry and determining any additional steps in support of these goals.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])