Recently Prime Minisrer Manmohan Singh focused on nuclear terrorism as a source of concern. More recently it became clear that Pakistan’s A Q Khan network was peddling sophisticated and compact nuclear bomb designs to possible buyers who may include rouge nations and terrorist outfits. The nuclear terror seems to be a real threat perception.
India has now decided to join a group led by the US and Russia to combat this new menace. India’s Ambassador to Spain, Sujata Mehta, will represent the country at the next meeting of the group in Madrid on Tuesday. India is currently in the process of signing on to the statement of principles of the group.
One of the most compelling reasons for India to join is that increasingly, private sector and industry would be under terrorist threat, prompting closer cooperation with local and federal authorities.
According to official statements, Saudi Arabia, Malta, Ireland and the UAE are formally signing up this time. The initiative was launched in 2006 by George Bush and Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg, Russia. The first three meetings were held in Morocco, Turkey and Kazakhstan. The group now has 70-odd members.
The Madrid meeting is expected to focus on availability of nuclear materials, building of weapons, targets and attack scenarios. Pakistan and its nuclear network is easily on top of the list of global concerns, Iran comes a close second. The Pakistan nuclear network, which India believes is much more than a one-man show, has not been wound up, and there have been recent reports testifying to that fact.
According to US official statements, the Madrid meeting will emphasize the value of further integrating the counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation communities with a special emphasis on deterrence, nuclear detection and denial of terrorist safe haven. Partners of the Global Initiative will be joined by officials from the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as industry representatives