Nuclear summit

Modi in Washington to attend nuclear security summit

PTI3_31_2016_000275A Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Indian community members outside his hotel in Washington on Thursday | PTI

Prime minister Narendra Modi arrived in Washington in the early hours of Thursday to participate in the fourth and final of US President Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit, an initiative that seeks to regulate fissile material across the world and to prevent it from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Fifty three countries and five global organisations are being represented at the summit and officials at Washington’s state department say there will be special deliberation on the Islamic State and how to prevent the outfit from accessing fissile material to make a “dirty bomb” . The recent terror attacks in Brussels, close after the Paris attacks have underscored the need for a global effort to secure nuclear material.

Russia’s absence from the summit, apparently because of a perceived lack of cooperation in framing the outline of the summit was downplayed by the state department. Its spokesperson John Kirby told mediapersons that Russia had been invited, and was always welcome. He added that though Russian president wasn’t attending the summit, the country was being represented by its ambassador at the meet.

The absence of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani Prime minister, who chose to cancel his trip after the Easter suicide attack in Lahore, is being frowned upon, though nothing is being said. Obama called up Sharif and expressed US support in Pakistan’s bleak hour. But given Pakistan’s experiences with terror, it is being felt Sharif would have made a better statement with his presence at the summit.

Meanwhile, India’s National Security advisor Ajit Doval, who arrived ahead of Modi, had meetings with his US counterpart Susan Rice as well as with secretary of state John Kerry. Kerry said India had an important and responsible role to play in stewardship of nuclear weapons and material while Doval said the two countries shared many concerns on terror and cyberspace and would work on these areas.

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