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Nuclear Security Summit and India: opportunity & constraints

The fourth Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington, D.C. from March 31-April 1, 2016, gains importance from the fact that

  1. It will be the fourth and last for its proposer, President Barack Obama, who launched it in Washington in 2010.
  2. Terrorist threat has increased in recent days with Paris and Brussels attack.
  3. Today’s’ world peace is at greater threat than earlier due to Syria, Ukraine and North Korea crisis; as the world is divided even on threat to nuclear establishments.
  4. India will attend the Summit as a responsible country, after it
  • Completed its procedures for adherence to IAEA’s Amended Protocol, and
  • Ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

Why India need the successful conclusion of NSS?

  1. Nuclear security is India’s prime concern because India cannot ignore its dependence on nuclear energy as
  • India lacks in fossil energy and its economy is growing at faster rate.
  • India can’t leave itself only on imported energy sources
  • Alternative sources of energy have limited scope or require high level of technology in India.
  1. Global terrorism, especially nuclear terrorism and the growing threat posed by terrorists seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, have increased in recent days and India is one their major target. This threat has increased in recent days as
  • Terrorists are now in a position either to make or acquire a nuclear bomb and explode it, due to weakening of government as institutions in different part of the world.
  • The possibility of sabotaging an existing nuclear facility to create an accident by terrorist has increased in recent days as the government sponsored terrorism has become quite visible like North Korea directly threatening its use.
  • Possibility of the use of radioactive material to create a ‘dirty bomb’ or a radiological dispersal device by terrorist can’t be ignored now with the growth of Islamic State and growing tendency of the use of suicide squad.

India’s past efforts

  • Since 2002, India has been introducing a resolution on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in the United Nations General Assembly, adopted by consensus every year.
  • It laid the groundwork for the legally binding Security Council Resolution 1540 adopted in 2005.
  • Earlier, India itself has declared the peaceful use of nuclear energy only as well its Nuclear Doctrine provides for well guarded use of nuclear weapons if needed, though it has “No First Use” at its core of the doctrine.

Positive impact of NSS

  • Establishing global centers of excellence (like the one in India),
  • Launching the Nuclear Security Fund,
  • Expanding the activities of IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Support Centers.
  • About 15 MT of highly enriched uranium (HEU) have been down- blended to low-enriched uranium,
  • A number of reactors using HEU have either been shut down or switched their fuel,
  • 12 countries have given up all HEU,
  • Fuel repatriation to source countries has been accelerated.
  • The biggest achievement has been that the somewhat technical subject of nuclear security has received sustained high-level political attention.

However the major drawback of NSS is that there is no legally binding outcome at the end of six years.

Nuclear Security Summit- a profile

  • NSS is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe.
  • It was initiated when President Barack Obama highlighted the nuclear threat in his famous Prague speech in 2009 and called upon the international community to ensure the securing of all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years.
  • The first summit was held in Washington D. C.on April 12–13, 2010, followed by second summit in Seoul, South Korea in 2012 and the third summit in The Hague, the Netherlands on March 24–25, 2014. The fourth summit will be held in Washington, D.C. from March 31-April 1, 2016
  • Gift Basket: Certain countries involved in the NSS are interested in taking a specific security theme a step further. These countries are being given the opportunity to offer a ‘gift basket’, an extra initiative. The idea is for presenters of such gift baskets to acquire the backing of as many countries as possible, which will in turn function as role models for a given aspect of security. The United States first implemented a policy of ‘Gift Basket Diplomacy’ between the 2010 and 2012 Summits. Indian PM, Mr. Modi is expected to forward India’s Gift Basket, during his visit to Washington on 31st March, 2016.


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