India explains plan to expand n-power capacity

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) As it continues in its attempt for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India on Monday explained how it will expand its nuclear energy capacity to 60 GW.

“I would also like to reiterate at the outset India’s commitment to global nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said in his address to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna.

“Today, with India having taken a leadership position in the effort to combat climate change, India will expand its nuclear energy capacity from the current level of around 6 GW to over 60 GW,” he said.

At the same time, without naming Pakistan, Akbar said that “few phrases in the language can wholly convey the magnitude of the potential danger of terrorists finding their way, while acting on their own or with the help of revanchist elements, to nuclear instruments”.

“The sane world wants to prevent malignant actors from getting access to nuclear and radiological material and facilities.

“Recent developments show that terrorist use of WMD (weapon of mass destruction) materials is not a theoretical concern. A breach of nuclear security could lead to unimaginable consequences,” he said,

Akbar said that the ministerial conference was critical, and underlined the IAEA’s “central role in strengthening the global nuclear security framework, in facilitating national efforts on nuclear security, in fostering effective international cooperation,in setting future priorities and in forging technical and policy guidance”.

“India has always held that nuclear security is the domain of national sovereignty but this national prerogative demands national responsibility,” he noted, adding that “responsible national actions and effective international cooperation should be pursued together to prevent non-state actors and other malignant forces from threatening the lives of innocents on a mass scale, destabilising regional stability and international peace”.

He also asserted that India was party to all the 13 universal instruments accepted as benchmarks for a state’s commitments to combat international terrorism, and welcomed the entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) this year.

But he also sought the world’s support for the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN.

“As we continue efforts to achieve universal adherence and reporting to these instruments, we must not forget the urgent task of closing out negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN which has been under discussion since 1996,” Akbar said.

“Such delay hints at a lack of collective will on an existentialist issue that has become the most serious threat to world peace since 1945.”

Stating that IAEA occupied a crucial space between the international legal foundation of nuclear security and the initiatives of its member states, he said: “India has been consistent in its support for the agency. It must have predictable and sufficient resources for its nuclear security work. In April this year, India announced another contribution of $1 million to IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund.”

–IANS

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