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Opening remarks by FS at media interaction after conclusion of the New Delhi Sherpa Meeting

New Delhi

Thank you for attending this media interaction.

As you are aware, a meeting of the Sherpas for the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit was held in Vigyan Bhawan on 16-17 January and concluded its work just a few minutes ago. This meeting was attended by 49 participating countries and four international organizations. You are aware that 46 countries participated in the First Nuclear security summit that was held in Washington in April 2010. ROK as the host of the Second summit which will be in held in Seoul in March 26-27, 2012 has invited three new participants - Denmark, Lithuania, and Azerbaijan. Of these, Denmark and Lithuania sent representatives to the New Delhi Sherpa Meeting. The four international Organizations are the UN, IAEA, Interpol and the European Union.

2. The main agenda of the Sherpa meeting, which was co-chaired by the next Chair ROK and the previous Chair the United States, was consideration of the draft communique that would be adopted by the Summit in Seoul. The draft communique is a substantive document that seeks to reaffirm the Washington communique and build on the momentum that has been generated since the last Summit. Since the draft is still under discussion, it would not be possible to share specific details. However, the discussion on the draft were productive and have reached an advance stage of consideration.

3. The main objective of the Nuclear Summit process has been to focus high-level global attention on the threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the measures required to address the global challenge of preventing terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials, technology and information. Security of nuclear materials is fundamentally a national responsibility but there is considerable scope for international cooperation to strengthen nuclear security objectives and standards. In this regard, there was considerable emphasis on the leading role of the IAEA in the international nuclear security framework and the need to strengthen multilateral instruments that address nuclear security such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. India is a party to all major international instruments in the field of nuclear security.

4. Among the topics being discussed for considered for inclusion in the Seoul Summit outcome Communiqué include measures to secure the management of highly enriched uranium, measures to ensure radiological security, promoting transport security and combating illicit trafficking, security of sensitive information and increasing international cooperation and assistance. In this regard, you would recall that India had announced the setting up of the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership. The Seoul Summit will also give consideration to strengthening the synergy between nuclear safety and nuclear security, an issue which has become topical after the Fukushima accident of March, 2011. We feel that this issue merits Summit level consideration to enhance public confidence that measures are being taken to ensure that nuclear energy, which is an essential energy source is used in a safe and secure manner.

5. India is committed to the success of the Nuclear Security Summit process. Our Prime Minister will be attending the Seoul Summit in March this year. The holding of the Sherpa meeting in New Delhi, the first of its kind that we have hosted, is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the Nuclear Security Summit process.

Thank You.

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