India, Pakistan should reduce their arsenal, says Obama

‘IS getting such a weapon is one of the greatest security threats’

April 03, 2016 01:44 am | Updated November 17, 2021 01:57 am IST - Washington:

India and Pakistan need to make progress in reducing their nuclear arsenal and ensure they do not “continually move in the wrong direction” while developing military doctrines, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

“One of the challenges that we are going to have here is that it is very difficult to see huge reductions in our nuclear arsenal unless the U.S. and Russia, as the two largest possessors of nuclear weapons, are prepared to lead the way,” Mr. Obama told a press conference after the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) here.

“The other area where I think we need to see progress is Pakistan and India, that subcontinent, making sure that as they develop military doctrines, that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.”

At the end of the summit, world leaders were shown a classified video that Mr. Obama said focussed attention on possible scenarios that might emerge with respect to terrorist networks laying their hands on a nuclear device.

U.S. officials would not term such a threat “remote or imminent,” but call it “real.”

President Obama told the gathering that the Islamic State (IS) terror group obtaining a nuclear weapon was “one of the greatest threats to global security.” “… as [the] Islamic State is squeezed in Syria and Iraq, we can anticipate it lashing out elsewhere,” Mr. Obama said in his concluding remarks, before the screening.

The fourth NSS, the last in its current format, ended with leaders from more than 50 countries and four international organisations stating in a joint communiqué that “more work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes.” The communiqué also noted the progress made since 2010, when the first NSS was convened.

The video showed one potential act of nuclear terrorism, but with multiple scenarios within that, according to sources familiar with the summit deliberations. The leaders then discussed how to prevent such a danger, the institutional frameworks and international cooperation required and in the event of it happening, how to respond to it.

“In a brief but very sharp intervention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made some thoughtful remarks,” said an Indian diplomat.

The two-day summit is aimed at getting political leaderships directly involved in dealing with the threat of nuclear terrorism.

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