Prime Minister Narendra 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.
Part of India’s Progress Report, the announcements were made by Modi on the second and final day of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), which was attended by leaders from more than 50 countries.
The Prime Minister said the country will continue to accord a high national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialised manpower.
The national plan includes development and deployment of technology, including 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.
To counter nuclear smuggling, Modi said the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material would be strengthened, adding that a dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team has been set up.
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, Modi said.
Gift basket diplomacy involves an approach to a crucial issue where, if consensus is not reached, then those willing can join in.
Further, India pledged an added contribution of USD1 million to the nuclear security fund to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s central role in nuclear security. A workshop with IAEA experts on International Physical Protection Assessment Service will be held in India, apart from a meeting of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in 2017. A conference on countering nuclear smuggling in partnership with Interpol is also on the cards.
Modi also said the country will also join the Trilateral Initiative, the joint statement of the previous three co-chairs of the NSS, circulated as a document in the IAEA.
The Prime Minister wound up his two-day trip to Washington after the session, and headed to Saudi Arabia as a part of his three-nation tour. Modi began his first foreign trip this year with Brussels, landing at the Belgian capital for the India-EU summit.