Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Washington on Thursday to attend the two-day Nuclear Security Summit.
The summit will begin on Thursday evening with a working dinner at the White House where US President Barack Obama and the heads of the respective national delegations “will share their perspectives about the threat of nuclear terrorism,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has said.
Apart from Modi and Obama, some of the other world leaders at the summit include French President François Hollande, Britain’s PM David Cameron, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, and the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
What is the Nuclear Security Summit?
The Nuclear Security Summit is a forum for the leaders of the world to discuss and address the issues of nuclear security, threats and terrorism.
“By focusing high-level attention on the threat of nuclear terrorism, the Nuclear Security Summits are designed to energize, enhance, empower, and elevate the many existing multilateral and cooperative institutions and structures aimed at securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear smuggling,” says the official website of the summit.
The site also states that the goals of the summit include minimising the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU), improving the security at nuclear facilities, increasing membership in organisations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials and developing technology to better nuclear security.
Moreover, some of the notable achievements of the summits held so far include removal of over 3.2 metric tons of vulnerable HEU and plutonium material and complete removal of HEU from 12 countries.
The first summit was held in Washington on 12 and 13 April, 2010, after which the Washington Working Plan, which provides guidelines for concrete actions to be taken for nuclear security, was issued. 47 countries had taken part in that summit.
Six more countries participated in the second summit, which was held in Seoul on 26 and 27 March, 2012. A third summit was also held in The Hague on 24 and 25 March, 2014, hosted by the Netherlands.
What will happen in the 2016 summit?
Discussion about the misuse of nuclear materials, especially by the Islamic State or other terrorists groups will be the focus of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, involving more than 50 countries, with the notable exception of Russia.
Russia, the world’s other great nuclear power along with the US, is skipping the summit to protest “a certain lack of cooperation during the preliminary stage of working on issues and topics of the summit”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had said on Wednesday, according to IANS.
Last week’s terror attacks in Brussels have given further impetus to efforts to safeguard stockpiles of nuclear material.
According to ANI, there will be three plenary sessions on 1 April, with a focus on national actions to improve nuclear security, said Indian Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) Amandeep Singh Gill.
The first meeting will then be followed by a working lunch, after which the third and final discussion will take place, during which there will be a policy discussion on nuclear terrorism based on a hypothetical scenario.
The summit will then conclude with the adoption of a communique and five action plans.
“India expects that the summit would contribute further to raising high-level awareness of the threat of nuclear terrorism and the need to strengthen international cooperation against terrorists and nuclear traffickers,” ANI quoted Gill as saying.
(With agency inputs)