Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Washington on Sunday, on a four-day visit during which he will attend the Nuclear Security Summit on Monday and meet President Barack Obama and some other world leaders. At the Nuclear Summit to be attended by leaders of 46 other countries also, Singh is expected to pitch for firm response to the challenges of proliferation and possibility of terrorists gaining access to atomic material.
The Summit will discuss ways to strengthen global initiatives for securing nuclear material and installations amid concerns of terrorists gaining access to these. Singh is expected to share India's apprehensions about terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction During the official-level deliberations, India will raise concerns about the possibility of terrorists gaining
access to nuclear material in Pakistan. The summit, an initiative of Obama, will focus on dangers posed by clandestine proliferation and illicit trafficking of nuclear material and the possibility of terrorists acquiring atomic material.
Ahead of his visit, the prime minister said nuclear terrorism and proliferation of sensitive technologies are "legitimate concerns" which require "firm responses". He emphasised the need for "highest standards of security" in the nuclear field to reinforce public faith in the benefit of atomic science.
Noting that nuclear energy was poised to play a growing role in addressing the developmental challenges of the present times, he said, "This will be possible only if we, as individual nations, and as a global community ensure the
highest standards of security which reinforce public faith in the benefits of nuclear science." He pointed out that India was an important stakeholder in this global endeavour.
Talking about India's well developed and indigenous nuclear energy programme, which dates back six decades, Singh
said, "We have an impeccable record of security, safety and non-proliferation which reflects in our conduct as a
responsible nuclear power." The prime minister underlined that India has been a consistent advocate of complete and universal global nuclear disarmament.
Singh is also likely to propose setting up of an International Nuclear Safety Centre in India. India sees the summit and its associated preparatory process as important elements in strengthening international resolve to cooperate on nuclear security and supporting the expanded use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Image: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh disembarks his plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland as he prepares to take part in the Nuclear Security Summit.
Photograph: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst