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3rd Nuclear Security Summit The Hague, Netherlands (24-25 March 2014)

April 09, 2014

By Amb. Bhaswati Mukherjee

Background:

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  1. Nuclear terrorism and clandestine proliferation continue to pose a serious threat to international security. India fully shares the continuing global concern on possible breaches of nuclear security. India welcomes the galvanising role that the Nuclear Security Summit process has played in raising awareness of this threat and in promoting national actions and international cooperation. India continues to underline that the IAEA’s role is central to international cooperative efforts to promote nuclear security. Though the focus of action on nuclear security is primarily national, national actions must be supplemented by national responsibility. All States must strictly abide by the international commitments that they have undertaken.
  2. The 3rd Nuclear Security Summit is a follow-up of two earlier Summits held in Washington in 2010 and at Seoul in 2012. EAM was leader of the Indian Delegation and was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Secretary Mrs. Sujatha Singh, who was India’s Sherpa for the Summit. The main objective of the NSS process is to raise global awareness on the issue of nuclear terrorism and to get Governments to agree on measures that are required to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear facilities, materials and technologies. In a sense, the NSS process has acted as a catalyst for international cooperation along with the IAEA.
  3. India views nuclear energy as an essential source of clean energy for meeting our growing demand for power. We are committed to taking forward our three stage nuclear programme based on a closed fuel cycle and the principle of reprocess to reuse. India envisages a major expansion of nuclear energy in the coming decades from just over 5000 MW currently to 20,000 MW by 2020 and on to 60,000 MW by 2030.
  4. India’s nuclear programme is oriented towards maximising the energy potential of available Uranium resources and the utilisation of India’s large Thorium reserves. In India’s view, available global uranium resources cannot sustain the projected expansion of nuclear power without adopting the closed fuel cycle approach. Such an approach also offers the prospect of technology-based solutions for nuclear security, nuclear waste management and nuclear proliferation dilemmas.

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    Outcome of Summit:
  5. The Summit took stock and evaluated the progress made since Seoul and agreed on some new measures which are reflected in the Communiqué. Several countries elaborated on steps taken to strengthen nuclear security in their own countries, including through circulation of their national progress reports. India’s national progress report was also released at the time of the Summit and was widely welcomed.
  6. An innovative feature of this Summit at the initiative of the host country, Netherlands was the enhanced role for Heads of Delegation discussion on the future orientation of the NSS process. This included a discussion by Heads of Government over scenario based policy debate, in which a fictional nuclear security threat scenario was presented and leaders were encouraged to make choices and discuss those options at an informal Plenary of Heads of Delegation. The outcome was reflected in the Final Communiqué.

    Outcome from India’s perspective:
  7. The outcome was totally satisfactory from India’s perspective. Our national progress report was much appreciated. In our Plenary Statement, leader of India’s delegation, External Affairs Minister Shri Salman Khurshid underlined that India had not wavered in its commitment to global efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. India had never been a source of proliferation of sensitive materials and technologies. India was proud of its record on nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation but India was not complacent. India was committed to upholding and strengthening physical security of nuclear facilities and materials, and was prepared to further strengthen its export control systems in line with the highest international standards. India’s adherence to the guidelines and lists of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime was testimony to this commitment. India’s membership of the four export control regimes would further strengthen global non-proliferation efforts. India also supports the early commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
  8. EAM further stated that after the tragedy at Fukushima, we have comprehensively reviewed nuclear safety measures at all our nuclear facilities; we are strengthening emergency preparedness, monitoring, and response to nuclear accidents. After successfully hosting an IAEA Operational Safety Review Team at two nuclear power reactors in 2012, this year we have invited the IAEA to conduct a regulatory review of India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). We remain engaged with the IAEA’s Commission on Nuclear Safety Standards, the IAEA Director General’s Advisory Group on Nuclear Security and the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee. Our experts are contributing to the formulation of IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plans. We are pleased that the IAEA is utilising our financial contribution to the Nuclear Security Fund for cooperative activities to strengthen nuclear security. EAM commended the IAEA for organising the July 2013 Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Security. India was one of the countries represented at the level of a Minister.
  9. In conclusion, EAM also welcomed the offer of the USA to host the next Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2016. EAM suggested that we should give thought, in our next inter-Summit process, to the role IAEA could play in steering the implementation of the NSS commitments beyond Washington while reserving the possibility of occasionally convening future Summits as required.

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  10. It may be noted that India is no stranger to nuclear security. At the dawn of India’s nuclear power programme, India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had minuted that source material for nuclear energy was not an ordinary commodity and needed to be handled with care. India became a founder member of the IAEA in 1957 and has implemented IAEA safeguards on its civilian nuclear facilities for more than four decades. As a follow-up to the 2010 NSS in Washington, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced the setting up of a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) as a centre of excellence on nuclear security. This Centre which is being established will, as stated by Prime Minister "Conduct research and develop design systems that in principle safe, proliferation resistant and sustainable”. The foundation stone of the Centre was laid on 3rd January 2014 in Kheri Jassaur in Haryana and some activities have already commenced.
  11. It is, therefore, natural for India to be an active participant in current efforts to strengthen nuclear security given its nuclear programme and expertise, its interest in expansion of civil nuclear energy in safe and secure conditions and its experience with State-sponsored terrorism. India has an impeccable record on nuclear non-proliferation and Indian nuclear technologies and materials have never leaked anywhere, in contrast to some cases of rampant proliferation in Asia involving Governments and State actors. Nevertheless, India is not complacent on nuclear security and has taken steps to strengthen it even further, including through international cooperation through IAEA and the Nuclear Security Summit process. We would continue such cooperation in future. The planned Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) would provide the ideal platform to strengthen the various dimensions of nuclear security in India with such international cooperation.

     



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