India to focus on mechanism to address threat of nuclear terrorism in Nuclear Security Summit

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Amid the rise of IS and presence of terror groups in Af-Pak region India will emphasise on creating an effective mechanism to address threat of nuclear terrorism at the Fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit being held in Washington on Thursday and Friday. It has also hoped that the participants will uphold confidence in the safe, secure and safeguarded expansion of nuclear power.

“The summit would deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said, before he arrived in Washington from Brussels on early Thursday.

“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 suggested.

static1.squarespaceAfter 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. However, key nuclear power Russia has decided to boycott the NSS by claiming that existing international mechanisms are adequate to deal with the threat. Pakistan alleged in the past of nuclear proliferation is sending low profile delegation after PM Nawaz Sharif pulled out following Lahore terror attacks.

The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process since 2010 has been focusing on the global threat posed by nuclear terrorism and urgent measures required to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials and technologies.

The 2016 Summit is expected to take stock of the progress of the previous Nuclear Security Summit Communique and work plan and outline the future agenda through an action plan that involves IAEA, Interpol and UN. At this last edition of NSS India will also present a progress report on steps taken to safeguard its nuclear facilities and installations.

The prime minister will also meet scientists from Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) during his visit. This is Modi’s third visit to the US since taking office in May 2014 and he will also meet Obama, UK PM David Cameron and other leaders.

After US Secretary of State John Kerry said ahead of the Summit 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.

President Obama, hosting the fourth and last such gathering, “obviously” is “delighted that Prime Minister Modi is able to be in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday before his meeting Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in Washington.

Doval, in turn during joint remarks, said India attached “considerable value” to this “very, very important summit and Modi “is deeply interested in seeing and ensuring that the safety and security of the radioactive material must be ensured.”

“India has a long record of being a leader, of being responsible. And it is particularly important right now at a time when we see in the region some choices being made that may accelerate possible arms construction, which we have serious questions about,” noted Kerry without any direct reference to Pakistan or Sino-Pak nuclear axis.

“We’ve raised them with various partners in the region. So our hope is that this Nuclear Security Summit will contribute to everybody’s understanding about our global responsibilities and choices,” Kerry said.

Doval said India and US “have made many strides after the new government of Prime Minister Modi has come and we have taken our relationship to new heights.” India, Doval said, “shared many concerns, particularly concerns about terrorism, concerns about the cyber space and we’ll be working together on that.”

Doval also met his US counterpart and discussed counter-terrorism cooperation, including against Pakistan-based groups Lashkar-e-Taeba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, responsible for the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks.

The issue came up for discussion at a meeting on Tuesday between India’s Ajit Doval and US NSA Susan E. Rice at the White House, according to a statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price.

The two also “exchanged views on the terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the region and the importance of combating the ideology that fuels such groups,” he said. “Additionally, they exchanged views on the prospects for commercial progress this year under US-India civil nuclear cooperation,” Price said.

Westinghouse has said that it hopes to conclude final pact this June for supplying six reactors for proposed nuclear power plant in Gujarat. The US nuclear major was earlier hoping to sign the pact during Modi’s trip. Rice reiterated US support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime, he said.

(Economic Times)

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