New Delhi, March 25 IANS | 9 months ago

Nuclear terrorism and clandestine proliferation continue to pose a serious threat to international security and there is a need to strengthen international nuclear security architecture, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said.

In his plenary statement at the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague, he said India fully shares the continuing global concern on possible breaches of nuclear security.

"Nuclear terrorism and clandestine proliferation continue to pose a serious threat to international security," Khurshid said, according to a statement made available Tuesday.

He said that despite the progress made since US President Barack Obama convened the first nuclear security summit, terrorism and other malicious acts involving nuclear material and facilities remain a clear danger.

"Any breach in nuclear security could undermine public confidence. We should together deny terrorists what they seek and eliminate the risks of sensitive materials and technologies falling into their hands.

"The focus on non-state actors should in no way diminish state accountability in combating terrorism, dismantling its support structures or its linkages with weapons of mass destruction," Khurshid said.

The minister, who led the Indian delegation at the summit, said there was a need to strengthen the international nuclear security architecture by ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendment and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

"Our common message as governments, industry and academia must be that nuclear energy can and must be harnessed while maintaining the highest levels of nuclear safety and security," he said.

Khurshid said India considers the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as central in international cooperative efforts to promote nuclear security.

"All states must strictly abide by the international commitments that they have undertaken."

Khurshid said India envisages a major expansion of nuclear energy in the coming decades from just over 5,000 MW at present to 20,000 MW by 2020 and on to 60,000 MW by 2030.

He said India was committed to the objective of a world free from nuclear weapons.

"India's action plan for global nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework tabled by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi remains a benchmark for us and India remains ready to move in a step by step manner towards the goal of nuclear disarmament," he said.

He said India has never been a source of proliferation of sensitive material and technologies and was prepared to further strengthen its export control systems in line with the highest international standards.

"Our adherence to the guidelines and lists of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime is testimony to this commitment. India's membership of the four export control regimes would further strengthen global non-proliferation efforts.

"We support the early commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva," he said.

The Hague hosted the third nuclear security summit March 24-25.

The last two summits were held at Seoul (2012) and Washington (2010). The next summit is also expected to be held at Washington.

(Posted on 26-03-2014)

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