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India to examine its NPT options ahead of nuclear summit


New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, a two-day conference will start here Monday to debate India’s options in view of the growing global pressure to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The conference, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a leading think tank, is being held ahead of the May review conference of the NPT.

Prominent nuclear experts and diplomats like Shyam Saran, former special envoy on nuclear deal, Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary, Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, nuclear and strategic expert K. Subrahmanyam and Arundhati Ghose will participate in the conference.

The conference will explore issues and complexities surrounding the 2010 NPT review conference and examine India’s policy option vis-a-vis the non-proliferation regime, said a concept note by the IDSA.

Manmohan Singh is among over 40 world leaders invited by US President Barack Obama to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington that will focus on saving the world from the scourge of nuclear terrorism and give a push to efforts towards nuclear disarmament.

In view of the forthcoming NPT review conference and Obama’s declared commitment to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, India may have to face US pressure to sign the NPT and the CTBT.

India has made it clear many a time recently that it remains opposed to the NPT and the CTBT in their present form as it regards these as discriminatory regimes that divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.

New Delhi has, however, kept its options open vis-a-vis CTBT, saying if other countries – read US, China and Pakistan – go along, it will re-examine its stand.