President Barack Obama, Excellencies, Distinguished Heads of Delegations,
Nuclear security is one of the foremost challenges we face today. I therefore wish to commend President Barack Obama for his initiative in convening this Summit on Nuclear Security. We would like the Summit to lead to concrete outcomes which help make our world a safer place.
The developmental applications of nuclear science in areas such as medicine, agriculture, food preservation and availability of fresh water are by now well established. Today, nuclear energy has emerged as a viable source of energy to meet the growing needs of the world in a manner that is environmentally sustainable. There is a real prospect for nuclear technology to address the developmental challenges of our times.
In India we have ambitious plans for using nuclear energy to meet our growing energy needs. Our target is to increase our installed capacity more than seven fold to 35000 MWe by the year 2022, and to 60,000 MWe by 2032.
The nuclear industry’s safety record over the last few years has been encouraging. It has helped to restore public faith in nuclear power. Safety alone, however, is not enough. The challenge we face today is that of ensuring nuclear security.
The danger of nuclear explosives or fissile material and technical know-how falling in to the hands of non-state actors continues to haunt our world. India is deeply concerned about the danger it faces, as do other States, from this threat.
Since 2002, we have piloted a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly on measures to deny terrorists access to Weapons of Mass Destruction. We fully support the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
The primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level, but national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour by States. If not, it remains an empty slogan. All States should scrupulously abide by their international obligations. It is a matter of deep regret that the global non-proliferation regime has failed to prevent nuclear proliferation. Clandestine proliferation networks have flourished and led to insecurity for all, including and especially for India. We must learn from past mistakes and institute effective measures to prevent their recurrence.
The world community should join hands to eliminate the risk of sensitive and valuable materials and technologies falling into hands of terrorists and illicit traffickers. There should be zero tolerance for individuals and groups which engage in illegal trafficking in nuclear items.
Global non-proliferation, to be successful, should be universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament.
We welcome the fact that the world is veering around to our view that the best guarantor of nuclear security is a world free from nuclear weapons.
Starting with Jawaharlal Nehru over five decades ago, India has been in the forefront of the call for global and complete nuclear disarmament. In 2006 India proposed the negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. We have also expressed our readiness to participate in the negotiation of an internationally verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had put forward a concrete Action Plan in 1988 for the universal and non-discriminatory elimination of nuclear weapons leading to global nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework.
Today, I once again reiterate India’s call to the world community to work towards the realisation of this vision.
We welcome the agreement between the United States and Russia to cut their nuclear arsenals as a step in the right direction. I call upon all states with substantial nuclear arsenals to further accelerate this process by making deeper cuts that will lead to meaningful disarmament.
We are encouraged by the Nuclear Posture Review announced by President Obama. India supports the universalisation of the policy of No First Use. The salience of nuclear weapons in national defence and security doctrines must be reduced as a matter of priority.
The dangers of nuclear terrorism make the early elimination of nuclear weapons a matter of even greater urgency.
The Indian Atomic Energy Act provides the legal framework for securing nuclear materials and facilities, and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board ensures independent oversight of nuclear safety and security. We are party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendment.
India’s three stage nuclear power programme which began sixty years ago is based on a closed nuclear fuel cycle. A direct benefit of this is that it ensures control over nuclear material that is generated as spent fuel. At the same time, we are continually upgrading technology to develop nuclear systems that are intrinsically safe, secure and proliferation resistant. We have recently developed an Advanced Heavy Water Reactor based on Low Enriched Uranium and thorium with new safety and proliferation-resistant features.
India has maintained an impeccable non-proliferation record, of which we are proud of. As a responsible nuclear power, India has and will not be the source of proliferation of sensitive technologies. We have a well-established and effective export control system which has worked without fail for over six decades. We have strengthened this system by harmonisation of our guidelines and lists with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime. Our commitment to not transfer nuclear weapons or related materials and technologies to non-nuclear weapon states or non-state actors is enshrined in domestic law through the enactment of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. We stand committed not to transfer reprocessing and enrichment technologies and equipment to countries that do not possess them.
As a founder member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, we have consistently supported the central role of the IAEA in facilitating national efforts to strengthen nuclear security and in fostering effective international cooperation. We have so far conducted nine Regional Training Courses on Nuclear Security in cooperation with the IAEA. We have entered into a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA in 2008, and have decided to place all future civilian thermal power reactors and civilian breeder reactors under IAEA safeguards.
We will continue to work with the IAEA and our partners in the United Nations as well as other forums such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to upgrade standards, share experiences and ensure effective implementation of international benchmarks on nuclear security.
I am happy to announce on this occasion that we have decided to set up a “Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership” in India. We visualize this to be a state of the art facility based on international participation from the IAEA and other interested foreign partners. The Centre will consist of four Schools dealing with Advanced Nuclear Energy System Studies, Nuclear Security, Radiation Safety, and the application of Radioisotopes and Radiation Technology in the areas of healthcare, agriculture and food. The Centre will conduct research and development of design systems that are intrinsically safe, secure, proliferation resistant and sustainable. We would welcome participation in this venture by your countries, the IAEA and the world to make this Centre’s work a success.
I thank you.