US to host 4th Nuclear Security Summit: Will Modi attend it?

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United States President Barack Obama is set to host the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC in early 2016, a global initiative aimed at securing global materials and to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

The summit is scheduled to be held from March 31 to April 1, according to a statement issued by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The summit is expected to be attended by top world leaders.

Given India’s enduring commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to attend the summit. The summit is still a few months away, but going by previous summits which were attended by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, there is a strong probability that Mr Modi will attend the 2016 NSS.  

The first nuclear security summit was held in Washington in 2010, where it drew the world’s attention towards the need to secure nuclear materials, and prevent non-state actors and rogue states from obtaining them. The then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh attended the summit in Washington.  The subsequent two summits were held at Seoul in 2012 and The Hague of the Netherlands in 2014.

The summit will discuss steps that need to be taken to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials and detect and disrupt any attempts at nuclear terrorism. The previous three summits have helped achieve tangible improvements in the security of nuclear materials, along with support from international institutions that support nuclear security. The recently concluded nuclear deal with Iran, which seeks to prevent it from possessing or acquiring any nuclear weapon, is a major triumph of ongoing global efforts to prevent proliferation.

The Modi Factor

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaks during a joint press conference with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill  in Ottawa, Canada on April 15, 2015. Prime Minister Modi will continue his official visit to Canada in Toronto and Vancouver. AFP PHOTO/ COLE BURSTON

While there is no official statement, as of now, on which leaders would be attending the summit, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the event it would make it his third visit to the US in two years after taking over as prime minister of the world’s most populous democracy. His first visit was in September 2014 that saw him attend the UNGA, followed by a  meeting with President Obama in Washington DC that culminated in an ambitious blueprint to energise the India-US relations across the spectrum. Mr Modi is set to visit the US again in the last week of September to attend the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in New York. He is also expected to travel to San Francisco and address the Indian diaspora in the Silicon Valley, the hub of IT ingenuity and innovation.


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