Indian Nuclear Programme has Social Applicability and Economic Viability: Jitendra Singh

New Delhi: India’s nuclear programme has both social applicability and economic viability, said Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (MoS) in charge of the Department of Atomic Energy and Space. Dr Singh was speaking on the inaugural day of the Conference on ‘India’s Role in Global Nuclear Governance’, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), in collaboration with the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), from February 24-26, 2016.

Indian nuclear programme, which commenced under the guidance of Homi Bhabha in the 1950s, was focussed on peaceful purposes and has since emerged as a major source of energy, noted Dr Singh. The programme plays an important role in the fields of medicine and agriculture too, he added.

Citing lack of awareness about the benefits of nuclear technology in the country as a major challenge, Dr Singh observed that it is crucial that India’s nuclear programme is viewed at par with other nuclear programmes across the world in terms of safety, security and applicability.

India has had an active nuclear programme for the past 60 years without any accidents, pointed out the Minister, adding that the present government is keen to further strengthen the nuclear power programme for peaceful purposes and economic growth. 
Earlier, discussing different aspects of global nuclear governance - nuclear non-proliferation, safety, security and disarmament - experts from India and abroad today took stock of technological evolution and lack transparency as major challenges for global nuclear governance.

Global governance needs to address the aspirations of an array of developing countries seeking nuclear energy, and not just those most likely to succeed, noted the experts. While they cannot be deprived of their rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, global governance laws, regulations and conventions oblige these countries to fulfil obligations that are in the interests of all, they added. The experts further observed that evolution in the nuclear governance regime has historically always been problematic. However, crises such as Iraq’s nuclear programme have helped in strengthening the regime.

Enlisting cyber security as another major concern for global nuclear governance, the experts noted the inadequacy of cyber security training in the nuclear industry. Even a small cyber attack on a nuclear facility can lead to disproportionate consequences, it was pointed out.

The three-day conference brings together scholars of global nuclear governance from India and across the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the emerging nuclear governance architecture. It focuses on how India can play a more proactive role as a driver of new ideas on the subject. Both, nuclear security issues and non-proliferation frameworks need to be considered while assessing India’s role in global nuclear governance. India has been playing and shall continue to play an important role in this respect.
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