Washington: United States President Barack Obama spelled out the biggest threat to international security on the first day of the Nuclear Security Summit. While Obama says terror outfits getting hold of nuclear weapons is the biggest concern, India is pushing for a new global nuclear safety centre.
Obama, hosting the largest ever gathering of world leaders in six decades at the Summit, hopes the gathering of 47 world leaders will come up with a strategy that will keep nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists. The world must jointly secure all loose nuclear weapons and materials and restrain the spread of more nuclear weapons, he says.
Meanwhile, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has something more practical to propose - a global nuclear safety centre. It will research nuclear safety and security and compile best practices to be replicated all over the world.
"You are aware of our concerns on terrorism and the possible acquisition of nuclear devices and material by terrorist groups," said India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
Critics say the flaw in the summit is the absence of Iran, North Korea and Syria. None of these countries were invited even though their nuclear weapons are a proliferation challenge. Israel's bomb in the basement which the US prefers to ignore is likely to come under intense criticism from even allies like Egypt and Turkey.
Manmohan Singh is expected to showcase India's impeccable record on nuclear non-proliferation and security on the second day of the summit while Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to be on the defensive.
The outcome statement from the summit is not expected to embarrass the Pakistan PM though, there is going to be a lot of talk about Pakistan's nuclear assets.
We have already heard form the White House about concerns of the al-Aaida laying hands on the Pakistani nuclear weapon and technology. We will also hear bout the Taliban gaining in strength and that's causing concerns for world leaders here.
Nuclear non-proliferation expert says that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and stockpile of weapons is currently safe but the threat remains. Gilani has come to Washington, pitching for a civil nuclear deal with US, of the kind that India has.
Prez Obama has already rejected that when he met with the PM on the sidelines of the summit, saying security and progress must be balanced. Even though PM Gilani says that nuclear assets are very well safeguarded in Pakistan, it is clear that Obama is not entirely taking his word for it.