PM heads for Seoul n-security summit

New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left here Saturday for the March 26-27 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, prior to which he will be on a two-day official visit to South Korea March 24-25.

At the Nuclear Security Summit, Manmohan Singh will join 57 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, to discuss the global threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the measures required to prevent terrorists from gaining access to sensitive nuclear material and technologies.

In his departure statement Friday, Manmohan Singh called for maintaining the highest levels of nuclear security and safety to retain public support for harnessing the benefits of atomic energy.

“India is expanding its nuclear power programme to diversify its energy mix and enhance energy security. In order to retain public support for harnessing the benefits of nuclear energy, we must be able to assure them of the highest levels of nuclear security and safety,” he said.

The need for nuclear security and safety was “even more important after the Fukushima accident in Japan last year”, he added.

Manmohan Singh pointed out in this context that India had prepared a national report on enhancing the global nuclear security architecture “which will be shared during the summit”.

“I will highlight the high priority we attach to nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation, and our impeccable record in this regard. I also intend to underline India’s continuing support for a world free of nuclear weapons,” the prime minister added.

The summit would also provide the opportunity to exchange views with a number of world leaders who will be attending the conclave, he said.

Manmohan Singh said he looked forward to his bilateral meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, at whose invitation he is making the May 24-25 official visit “to undertake a comprehensive review” of relations between the two countries “and identify new steps for the future”.

With South Korea being a strategic partner and an important pillar of India’s “Look East” policy, “we have a vibrant trade and investment relationship. Our partnership in science and technology, education and energy holds enormous promise”, the prime minister said.

An interaction with leading CEOs of South Korean corporations is scheduled for March 26 morning.

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