New Delhi : Even as India and the US try to put their civil nuclear negotiations back on track, the two countries will start two-day talks Wednesday to strengthen global non-proliferation and discuss security threats facing the world.
The US team led by Assistant Secretary of State John C. Rood will discuss with officials of the Indian external affairs ministry a wide range of issues to buttress bilateral cooperation to strengthen global non-proliferation efforts.
The Indian side is likely to be led by Hamid Ali Rao, joint secretary (disarmament) in the external affairs ministry.
The two sides will also discuss multilateral initiatives and strategic trade controls and regional security matters. Rood comes here after attending the third meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The dialogue is based on India's record in non-proliferation and aims at making New Delhi an active partner against proliferation.
The dialogue has become specially important in the last two years in order to counter a powerful non-proliferation lobby that fears that the India-US civil nuclear deal may end up subverting the global non-proliferation regime.
India, on its part, will again highlight the dangers of clandestine proliferation, especially by the underground nuclear market such as the one managed by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan.
The Khan network, as it is called, had sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran, according to Washington.
Addressing a 30-nation "Global Initiative Nuclear Terrorism Conference" in Miami Monday, FBI director Robert Mueller warned against the growing danger of nuclear terrorism, especially by operations like the Khan network.
"A.Q. Khan, for example, was not only the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, he peddled that technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. Khan was one of many to prove that it is indeed a seller's market in the so-called atomic bazaar," said Mueller.
"The economics of supply and demand dictate that someone, somewhere will provide nuclear material to the highest bidder, and that material will end up in the hands of terrorists," Mueller warned.
The talks come soon after the government set up a three-member task force, including security expert K. Subrahmanyam, Shyam Saran, the prime minister's special envoy on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, and Arundhati Ghose, former ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, to evolve informed positions on issues like non-proliferation, missile defence and fissile materials.