New Delhi: Yesterday saw the end of the two day long Nuclear Security Summit, in which 47 nations gathered together in Washington DC in what was the largest meeting of top global leaders since1945.
The Nuclear Security Summit was the first ever of its kind and will from hereon be held every two years. The next meeting is slated to be held in Seoul in 2012.
The Summit, which focused on the issue of securing nuclear materials, ended with the adoption of a communiqué and seven page work plan aimed at facilitating nuclear security on a global scale. The security measures outlined are to be adopted by nations on a voluntary basis.
“The practicalities still need to be worked out, but the basic takeaway of the Summit is that every country would have to do more in terms of ensuring safety and security of nuclear material in their country or passing through their country,” said W. Pal Sidhu vice-president of programmes at the New York based EastWest Institute, and a specialist on South Asian security issues.
Listen to W. Pal Sidhu recap the major highlights of the Summit. Click here
In a phone interview with Mint, Sidhu highlighted the complex nature of the US’s relationship with nuclear nations Iran and North Korea, neither of which were invited to the Summit. “Maybe this administration does not have the right answer as to how to engage these countries and that is worrisome. Clearly these countries are also holders of nuclear material that needs to be secured,” he said.
Sidhu went on to point out that Pakistan is also a cause for considerable concern, particularly for India. “There is concern in New Delhi, and rightly so, that Islamabad may have got off very lightly in this Summit. Pakistan is the only other country, apart from the former Soviet Union, which has been a concern for nuclear security. Yet in this particular Summit not only were they not singled out, they were given a place at the table.”
On a more positive note, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced India’s decision to set up a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, which he called “a state of the art facility based on international participation from the IAEA and other interested partners.”
While Manmohan Singh also used the Summit as a forum to talk about nuclear disarmament, highlighting that abolishing nuclear weapons would be “the best guarantor of nuclear security,” by and large the Summit did not stray into issues of disarmament and nonproliferation, keeping discussions closely aligned with its goal of securing nuclear materials.