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As PM leaves for Riyadh, here's what India promised at Nuclear Security Summit

April 02, 2016 09:47 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi boards Air India One as he leaves for Saudi Arabia, wrapping up his two-day United States visit, on Saturday. Photograph: @MEAIndia/Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left for Saudi Arabia after two days of engagement with world leaders during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC.

'My WashingtonDC visit was full of fruitful meetings and interactions. We have discussed an issue of great global importance (sic),’ Modi said in a tweet before Air India One left Andrews Airforce Base for Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

During his visit, Modi held bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Swiss President Johann N Schneider-Ammann, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and New Zealand PM John Key.

The Nuclear Security Summit was attended by leaders from more than 50 countries with heads of states from over 20 nations.

At the summit, Modi also interacted with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev apart from a host of other leaders.

Speaking at the White House dinner hosted by United States President Barack Obama, which kicked off the two-day summit, he underlined the need for maintaining highest level of vigil with regard to nuclear terrorism, and made a veiled attack on Pakistan, saying the ‘greatest risk’ is from state actors working with nuclear traffickers.

‘Farewell Washington! After 2 days of intense diplomacy PM @narendramodi leaves for final leg of his three nation tour,’ Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

As prime minister, this was Modi’s third trip to the US and his second visit to Washington, DC.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the second day of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Friday. Photograph: MEAphotogallery/Flickr

During the second and final day of the Nuclear Security Summit Modi announced several key initiatives taken by his government in the area of nuclear security and non proliferation, including countering nuclear smuggling and deployment of technology to deter nuclear terrorism.

Informing the world leaders of measures taken by him, Modi said India will continue to accord a high national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialised manpower.

The plan includes development and deployment of technology to deter and defend against nuclear terrorism.

These include physical and cyber barriers, technological approaches, setting up a facility for medical grade ‘Moly-99’ using low enriched Uranium and using vitrified forms of vulnerable radioisotopes such as Ceasium-137, the national plan says.

India will counter nuclear smuggling and strengthen the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material, he said, adding that a dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team has been set up.

Further, India will support International Atomic Energy Agency’s central role in nuclear security by a further contribution of $1 million (Rs 6 crore) to the nuclear security fund.

A workshop with IAEA experts on International Physical Protection Assessment Service will also be held in India.

India, he said, will join trilateral initiative of Nuclear Security Series chairs circulated at IAEA by subscribing states as the joint statement on strengthening nuclear security implementation.

India will also join three gift baskets for this summit in priority areas of countering nuclear smuggling, nuclear security contact group in Vienna, and sharing of best practices through Centres of Excellence such as India's own, he said.

Finally India will host a meeting of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in 2017. An international conference on countering nuclear smuggling is also being planned with Interpol.

The nuclear security architecture in the country has been strengthened and India has also participated in strengthening security architecture at the global level, the national action plan said.

India’s export controls list and guidelines have been harmonized with those of Nuclear Suppliers Group and India looks forward to strengthening its contribution to shared non proliferation objectives through membership of the export controls regimes, it said.

In 2005, India enacted the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems Act, 2005. This gives effect, inter alia, to India's obligations under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1540, it said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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