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World has failed to stop N-trafficking: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday called for zero tolerance towards those involved in illegal trafficking of nuclear material while maintaining that the global non-proliferation regime has failed to prevent this. Jayanth Jacob reports. N-summit: In pics

world Updated: Apr 14, 2010 02:13 IST
Jayanth Jacob

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday called for zero tolerance towards those involved in illegal trafficking of nuclear material while maintaining that the global non-proliferation regime has failed to prevent this.

Addressing the Nuclear Security Summit, Singh reiterated India’s stand that such a regime should be “comprehensive, non-discriminatory” and linked to the objective of “complete nuclear disarmament”. He also announced support for universalisation of the ‘No First Use’ policy.

Furthermore, he announced a major Indian initiative — a ‘Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership’ for research and development of design systems that are safe, proliferation-resistant and sustainable.

Welcoming the move, Obama said “this will be one more tool to establish best practices” in the quest for nuclear safety.

Warning of nuclear explosives falling into the hands of non-state actors, Singh said: “Clandestine proliferation networks have flourished and led to insecurity for all. We must learn from past mistakes and institute effective measures to prevent their recurrence.”

He didn’t directly mention any instance, though India’s concerns over the threat of A.Q. Khan’s network is well-known.

Singh’s words reflected Obama’s warning that terror groups like the Al Qaeda were trying to acquire nuclear arsenal, posing one of the “greatest threats” to global security.

“The world community should join hands to eliminate the risk of sensitive, valuable material and technology falling into the hands of terrorists and traffickers. There should be zero tolerance,” Singh asserted.

(With agency inputs)