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Washington Nuclear Summit : Vision Towards a nuclear-free world

By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor - Diplomatic Society and Sankalp Gurjar 

Moving into the second decade of the twenty-first century it is the right time for the world to rethink the role of nuclear weapons and the gravity of nuclear dangers and threats that increases every day. Taking steps towards a world free of nuclear weapons and creating consensus on how to tackle the issue of non-proliferation and disarmament is as important as ever.

Picture:World Leaders at the Washington Nuclear Summit 2016

This year’s Nuclear Security Summit, aimed at “strengthening the global nuclear security architecture,” was attended by more than 50 world leaders in Washington, DC. It was the second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) hosted by the United States from 31st March to 1st April, 2016. At the summit, US President Obama highlighted achievements of the NSS process. He said that by “working with other nations, we have removed or secured enough nuclear material for more than 150 nuclear weapons—material that will now never fall into the hands of terrorists”.

USA and the other fifty participating countries at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) cover more than 90 per cent of the nuclear material of the world. Notably this year, Russia was absent.

 

The concept of the NSS could be traced back to President Obama's speech in Prague in 2009. In that speech he voiced concerns about the threat of nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat for global security. And to deal with that threat, the first NSS was convened. Since then summits have been taking place regularly. This year, alongside the Nuclear Security Summit, two other summits, one for Nuclear Industry and one for NGO's, also took place.

 

 

World Leaders at the Washington Nuclear Summit 2016

 

 

President Obama placed greater responsibility on the countries of the Indian subcontinent to work towards reducing their nuclear arsenal and develop military doctrines so that they do not “continually move in the wrong direction”.

The Indian Prime Minister Modi’s participation at the NSS assumes significance given India’s status as the only nuclear armed country outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) structure which was granted Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver in 2008.

World leaders must ensure that nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament are kept at the forefront of policy agendas and must use every available opportunity to renew impetus for action. 

Sankalp Gurjar is a PhD candidate at the Department of International Relations, South Asian University

 

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January 2018

 
 
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