Nuclear security summit: India expects n-terrorism threat addressed

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) India will seek that the threat of nuclear terrorism is addressed at the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit being held in Washington even as New Delhi hopes that the participants will uphold confidence in the safe, secure and safeguarded extension on nuclear power.

“The summit would deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is attending the summit, said in a statement ahead of his departure from New Delhi.

“Leaders would discuss ways and measures through which to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, especially to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material,” he said.

With US Secretary of State John Kerry saying that “India has a very important role to play with respect to responsible stewardship of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials”, a lot of focus during the summit will be on what New Delhi has to say.

After attending a leaders-only thematic dinner on “Nuclear security threat perceptions” hosted by US President Barack Obama on Thursday, leaders of 53 nations and four international organisations will sit across three working sessions on Friday to discuss nuclear security and various aspects associated with it.

“India expects that the summit would contribute further to raising high level awareness of the threat of nuclear terrorism and the need to strengthen international cooperation against terrorists and nuclear traffickers,” Amandeep Singh Gill, joint secretary (disarmament and international security affairs) in the ministry of external affairs, said in a media briefing here on the summit.

“We also expect that the summit would help bolster legal, institutional and enforcement measures to strengthen the security of nuclear material, radioactive sources, associated facilities and technologies,” he said.

Gill said India would also expect the summit to uphold confidence in the safe, secure and safeguarded extension on nuclear power which would be a critical requirement of reaching national and international goals on non-fossil fuel energy.

“To underline this point, I want to mention that in these two words, nuclear terrorism, the problem is not with the word nuclear material, facilities or technology, the problem is with the associated aspect of terrorism which we need to focus on,” he said.

Thirdly, India would expect that those who have not done so would sign up to and implement the legally binding instruments related to nuclear security.

These include the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendment, and obligatory reporting under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which was adopted in 2004 and which has prohibitions and obligations related to non-state actors and export controls.

According to Gill, another issue India expects is that the competent institutions — in particular the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — “would be provisioned with adequate resources, both human and financial, to uphold international cooperation and to support as required national efforts to strengthen our nuclear security”.

As in past summits, participating countries may project the respective steps taken by them to strengthen nuclear security since the last summit, including in the form of submissions of national progress reports.

India will also be submitting its national progress report.

This will happen in the first of Friday’s three sessions.

According to external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup, India has contributed constructively during the summit’s preparatory meetings from 2014 to 2016 at the level of sherpas.

He said Prime Minister Modi would be making some specific announcements and proposals with regard to nuclear security during his interventions at the summit.

In the second session over a working lunch, the focus of discussions will be on international institutional actions to strengthen nuclear security.

“The focus would be on international follow-up through institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations, the Interpol, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G8 Global Partnership,” Gill explained.

The third and final session of the summit will see the leaders engaged in a policy discussion on nuclear terrorism based on a hypothetical scenario.

“Let me just say here that this scenario would allow the leaders to have a realistic and a thoughtful conversation on and around the challenges posed by international terrorism in particular the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism,” Gill said.

The summit will then end with the participants adopting a joint communique.

The first of these biennial nuclear security summits was held in Washington in April 2010 followed by the summits in Seoul in March 2012 and The Hague in March 2014.

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