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Singh in Seoul for National Security Summit

Seeking a weapons free world, leaders from 58 countries will discuss measures to secure all fissile material across the globe at the Nuclear Security Summit, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set to share steps conceived by India to tackle the challenge of nuclear terrorism.

world Updated: Mar 25, 2012 12:47 IST

Seeking a weapons free world, leaders from 58 countries will discuss measures to secure all fissile material across the globe at the Nuclear Security Summit, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set to share steps conceived by India to tackle the challenge of nuclear terrorism.


Singh arrived at the Air Force Base for a four-day visit during which he will hold bilateral talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to strengthen relations with the Asian economic partner.

The Prime Minister was received at the Air Force Base in Seoul by vice foreign minister Kim Sung-Han and India's Ambassador to South Korea Vishnu Prakash.

Singh will is also expected to hold talks with President Lee.

An agreement on simplifying issuance of visas between India and South Korea would be signed after talks between the two.

The two leaders are also expected to issue a joint statement after the talks.

"I look forward to my bilateral meeting with President Lee to undertake a comprehensive review of our relations with the Republic of Korea, and identify new steps for the future," the Prime Minister said in a pre-departure statement.

The two-day second Nuclear Security Summit begins on Monday when world leaders will meet at over dinner.

Tuesday would see packed sessions on the theme 'Beyond Security Towards Peace' where Singh is expected to unveil steps conceived by India to tackle challenges of nuclear terrorism.

On the sidelines of the Summit, Singh would meet Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who may discuss the abduction of two Italian nationals by Maoists in Odisha and the court case of two naval officers accused of killing Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast.

The Prime Minister will also meet his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg.

India and Norway have gone though some testy times over the issue of two NRI children being put under foster care by Norwegian authorities.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will also be at the Summit and some reports suggest a meeting with Singh.

However, sources said that the meeting of Singh and Gilani has not been scheduled yet.

The aim of the summit is to focus attention of countries with considerable nuclear capabilities on the threat posed by nuclear terrorism.

Asked whether India saw the summit as a tool to further the disarmament agenda, sources replied in the negative.

They pointed out that the Conference on Disarmament was a mechanism under the aegis of the United Nations. In his pre-departure statement, Singh pointed out that India was expanding its nuclear power programme to diversify its energy mix and enhance energy security.

He said that in order to retain public support for harnessing the benefits of nuclear energy, "we must be able to assure them of the highest levels of nuclear security and safety." This, he said, is "even more important" after the Fukushima accident in Japan last year.

"India has prepared a national report which will be shared during the Summit," the Prime Minister said, adding he would highlight the high priority India attaches to nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation and its impeccable record in this regard.

Singh said he expected the Seoul Summit to review actions that countries have taken to strengthen nuclear security since the last meet and recommend further steps to enhance the global nuclear security architecture.

Describing South Korea as a strategic partner and an important pillar of India's "Look East" policy, he noted the two countries have a vibrant trade and investment relationship and partnership in science and technology, education and energy holds enormous promise.

Singh would also seek to strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two countries, strengthen cooperation in the field of science and technology, and also coordinate the thinking on matters relating to regional security and international events.