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Statement by the Prime Minister on the eve of his departure for USA and Brazil

New Delhi
April 9, 2010 

I am leaving tomorrow to attend the Nuclear Security Summit being hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington DC, and the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) Summits being hosted by President Lula da Silva in Brasilia.

India welcomes President Obama’s initiative to hold a Summit on Nuclear Security. Nuclear energy is poised to play a growing role in addressing the developmental challenges of our times. This will be possible only if we, as individual nations, and as a global community ensure the highest standards of security which reinforce public faith in the benefits of nuclear science. India is an important stakeholder in this global endeavour. 

I expect the Summit to focus on nuclear terrorism and proliferation of sensitive nuclear materials and technologies. These are legitimate concerns which require firm responses. India has a well developed indigenous nuclear energy programme, which dates back six decades. We have an impeccable record of security, safety and non-proliferation which reflects our conduct as a responsible nuclear power. 

India has been a consistent advocate of complete and universal global nuclear disarmament. We were among the first countries in the world to call for a world free of nuclear weapons. I am encouraged by the fact that this approach is finding greater resonance today. We will continue to call for more meaningful progress in this direction. 

During my stay in Washington I look forward to having bilateral meetings with President Obama, President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan, President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Harper of Canada and other world leaders. 

From Washington, I will proceed to Brasilia to attend the fourth IBSA Summit and the second BRIC Summit. These groupings reflect the growing role of emerging economies in shaping the global economic order. 

The IBSA process has come of age. Today, it encompasses a wide range of activities which supplement the excellent bilateral relations we enjoy with each of these countries. Our coordination on important international issues has expanded, and our trilateral cooperation is beginning to bear fruit in many sectors. 

The BRIC countries are among the largest and fastest growing economies with rich human and material resources. They represent the future of the global economic landscape. We have a high stake in the revival of the global economy, an open trading system, energy security, combating climate change and addressing non-traditional threats to international security. 

I will also hold separate bilateral discussions with President Lula da Silva. Relations with Brazil are an important pillar of our policy towards Latin America and have witnessed substantial expansion in recent years. 

In Brasilia I will also have bilateral meetings with President Hu Jintao of China and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.