The United States will host the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in 2016. There are twin goals for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit: advancing tangible improvements in nuclear security behavior, and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture. As was the case at previous Summits, countries will announce significant nuclear security commitments and accomplishments, both through national statements or in association with multilateral Gift Baskets. Action Plans will be endorsed for five key international organizations and institutions (International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations, INTERPOL, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction) that will reflect the intent of Summit countries, in their roles as members of these organizations, to strengthen their contributions to nuclear security.
The 2016 Summit will provide a forum and the opportunity for leaders to engage with each other and to reinforce at the highest levels commitment to securing and eliminating nuclear materials, and preventing nuclear smuggling. Despite the significant progress achieved through the Summit process, it will be important that leaders recognize that this remains a challenge to global security and that all countries must continue to maintain high-level focus on steps to address nuclear security challenges. It is unfortunate that Russia has decided not to attend the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. The Nuclear Security Summit process has brought together more than 50 countries and four international institutions to take concrete action to secure nuclear materials and to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, and the group has made significant progress in the past five and a half years. The personal attention of world leaders at the biennial conference is a unique mechanism to spur action toward success on this important security priority.
The National Security Summit process has strengthened resolve of participating states to address issues of nuclear terrorism and nuclear security through a collective international response based on effective action at the national level to prevent vulnerable nuclear material falling into hands of non-state actors and terrorist groups.
India’s role in Nuclear Security Summit:
India believes that the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level, but this must be accompanied by responsible behavior by States. All States should scrupulously abide by their international obligations. India has consistently supported IAEA’s central role in facilitating national efforts to strengthen nuclear security and in fostering effective international cooperation.
India fully shares global concerns on nuclear terrorism, which continue to pose serious threats to international security. At the same time, given India’s growing energy demands, India also see nuclear energy as an essential component of our energy mix. Strengthening nuclear security, therefore, assists India’s objective of promoting a safe and secure expansion of civil nuclear energy. We must continue to harness the numerous developmental benefits that nuclear science and technology offer, especially for developing countries.
India is also determined that its expanded nuclear power programme will follow the highest standards of nuclear safety and security, whose synergy is essential to restore public faith in nuclear energy, especially after the tragic events at Fukushima in 2011. In this regard, India has undertaken comprehensive reviews of nuclear safety measures at nuclear facilities. India has time and again invited the Operational Safety Review Teams of the IAEA to assist in its own safety reviews and audit. Nuclear safety evaluations are being put in the public domain to enhance transparency and boost public confidence. India is also in the process of setting up a statutory, independent and autonomous Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority so as to strengthen emergency preparedness and response to nuclear accidents.
Nuclear terrorism will remain a potent threat as long as there are terrorists seeking to gain access to nuclear material and technologies for malicious purposes. India is acutely conscious of this threat. India’s resolution at the General Assembly on measures to deny terrorists access to weapons of mass destruction has been adopted by consensus since 2002.
India is party to the main international legal instruments on nuclear security – the Convention on Physical Protection and its 2005 amendment, as well as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. India supported the universalization of these instruments.
Nuclear security is primarily a national responsibility but there are benefits to be gained by supplementing responsible national actions through sustained and effective international cooperation.
India has made good progress in the establishment of the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, which was announced at the Washington Summit. The physical infrastructure for the Centre is being set up. India is expanding its technical assistance to developing countries, including by providing our indigenously developed Cobalt teletherapy machines – Bhabhatrons – for cancer treatment.
Attaining the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world will require commitments embedded in an agreed multilateral framework involving all states possessing nuclear weapons. This should include measures to reduce nuclear dangers by reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and by increasing universal restraints on the first use of nuclear weapons.
India has never been a source of proliferation of sensitive technologies and so it is determined to further strengthen its export control systems to keep them on par with the highest international standards. India has already adhered to the guidelines of the NSG and MTCR. As a like–minded country with the ability and willingness to promote global non-proliferation objectives, India believe that the next logical step is India’s membership of the four export control regimes.
In conclusion, I would like to say that India’s commitment to strengthen and improve further the effectiveness of its nuclear safety and security systems and make a significant contribution to the enhancement of the global nuclear security architecture. India will actively contribute to international efforts for enhanced nuclear safety standards and practices, evolved through consultations, based on a scientific and objective approach that allows sharing of scientific knowledge and technology relating to nuclear safety, promotion of innovation and investment in new technologies and increased transparency and capacity building that allows timely response to nuclear accidents should they occur. A new global cooperative framework on nuclear safety that preserves the principle of national responsibility but goes hand-in-hand with increased international cooperation will go a long way in reassuring the public regarding the long term viability of nuclear energy as a safe and secure energy source.