Manmohan Singh says nuclear terrorism and proliferation of technologies require firm responses

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday stated that India had an impeccable record of security and safety which reflected the country's conduct as a responsible nuclear power. His statement on the eve of his departure for the U.S. to attend the Nuclear Security Summit comes against the backdrop of a “radiation leak” in the national capital earlier this week.

The Prime Minister will then leave for Brazil to attend the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) summits being hosted by Brazilian President Lula da Silva in Brasilia.

Dr. Singh said the Washington Summit's focus on nuclear terrorism and proliferation of sensitive nuclear material and technologies were legitimate concerns which required firm responses. India being a consistent advocate of complete and universal global nuclear disarmament was encouraged by the fact that this approach was finding greater resonance today. “We will continue to call for more meaningful progress in this direction,” he added.

In Washington, the Prime Minister has so far scheduled bilateral meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. India has struck or is about to sign agreements in the civil nuclear sphere with all these countries.

In Brazil, India's interaction will be at both the governmental and civil society levels.

Briefing journalists , senior Foreign Office officials, Parbati Sen Vyas and Vivek Katju said the IBSA summit will take place on April 15 and will be followed by the BRIC Summit the next day.

For the first time the agenda of the BRIC Summit includes a focussed discussion on Iran, besides deliberations on the international financial and economic crisis, G-20 related matters, climate change, U.N. reforms and other regional issues such as the Middle East and Haiti, said Ms. Vyas. Of the four nations, two are U.N. Security Council members while Brazil and India are aspirants.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon will interact with his counterparts on April 15. He is expected to hold a bilateral strategic dialogue with Brazil and perhaps with the NSAs of Russia and China. The Prime Minister may also meet some of the heads of governments of the participating countries on the sidelines of the conferences.

In addition to meetings of business leaders and commercial and development banks of BRIC countries, representatives from IBSA countries will hold meetings of six civil society, or people-to-people fora. “I expect these meetings to have great resonance for the future shape of South-South cooperation,” said Rathin Roy heads of an organising committee.

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