M A I N   N E W S

PM: Summit must focus on N-terror
Ashok Tuteja/Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to caution the international community against the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups when he addresses world leaders from over 40 countries at the Nuclear Security Summit convened by US President Barack Obama in Washington on April 12-13.

Singh would be leaving tomorrow at the head of a high-level delegation on an eight-day visit to the US and Brazil. After attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, he will travel to Brazil for back-to-back IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) and BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) summits.

The world is waiting with great anxiety for the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit, one of the most laudable initiatives of President Obama ever since his inauguration in January last, as the two-day meet will focus on dangers posed by clandestine proliferation and illicit trafficking of nuclear material.

It is expected to consider ways to secure nuclear material and prevent it from falling into wrong hands. The summit is taking place close on the heels of the landmark agreement between the US and Russia in Prague yesterday to cut their nuclear arsenals and just ahead of the NPT Review Conference.

According to Indian officials, New Delhi sees the summit and its associated preparatory process as important elements in strengthening international resolve to cooperate on nuclear security and supporting the expanded use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In his address, the PM is also likely to outline India’s well-established nuclear doctrine and underline the need for greater impetus on securing nuclear material through physical protection and legal mechanisms. New Delhi may also make an offer to set up an International Nuclear Safety Centre in India.

Asked what did India expect from the summit, the officials said New Delhi desired that the final document to be issued by the summit must be a substantive one and underline that all responsible countries have an obligation to ensure that nuclear material is safe. “The summit should not become a forum for bashing countries like Iran, North Korea or Cuba…it should rather chalk out a roadmap for ensuring the security of nuclear material,” a senior official added.

On the margins of the summit, the PM is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Obama and some other world leaders. The possibility of a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani, who also will be attending the summit, is remote. From Washington, the PM flies to Brazil for the IBSA Summit on April 15 and the BRIC Summit the next day.

Vivek Katju, secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, told the media today that the IBSA Summit was expected to conclude with trilateral MoUs between India, Brazil and South Africa on solar energy and science and technology. The three countries were also considering MoUs on sports and diplomatic academies.

What may, however, turn out to be of more importance for India will be the BRIC Summit, since two permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China and Russia -- are members of this grouping too.

National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Russia and China on the margins of the engagements in Brazil.





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