You are here

International Conference on India’s Role in Global Nuclear Governance

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • February 24, 2016 to February 26, 2016

    IDSA-PRIO Conference

    Concept Note

    This conference brings together scholars working on global nuclear governance in India and abroad 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. In assessing India’s role in global nuclear governance, we seek to include both nuclear security issues and non-proliferation frameworks. The convergence will expose whether it is possible to envision a holistic nuclear governance and non-proliferation architecture.

    While preparing for the next Nuclear Security Summit, scheduled for 31 March – 1 April 2016, it is pertinent to review and discuss the roadmap and the Indian involvement for a robust nuclear security regime. This conference explores the possibility of developing a more comprehensive alternative to the fragmented nuclear security mechanisms today.

    Understanding global nuclear governance requires an investigation of a number of safety, security and safeguards mechanisms. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and multilateral export control regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), Container Security Initiative (CSI) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540 are some prominent instruments of global nuclear governance.

    Nuclear Safety is an indispensable need for operation of any programme of nuclear science. Nuclear safety is an integral part of both domestic and global nuclear governance. A network of institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Association of Nuclear Operators are in the forefront of global nuclear governance. These institutions supported development and implementation of regulatory mechanisms for nuclear safety. Several best practices for nuclear safety were devised in these institutions. The Fukushima incidents underlined the need for paying more attention to nuclear safety. The international community discussed the gap in the measures and mechanisms for nuclear safety. India has had a long association with nuclear safety even when it had some reservations on the need for nuclear security and the structure of safeguards.

    The United States President, Barack Obama, pushed nuclear security at the centre of global security governance in general and global nuclear governance in particular. The Nuclear Security Summit Process, initiated at the behest of the American President, galvanised global public opinion for nuclear security to counter nuclear and radiological terrorism. The two conventions for nuclear security had more members than before, yet ratification of the Amendment of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials could not take place because of the absence of the required number. The support for different instruments of nuclear security increased after the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010. India has been an active partner of the summit process. After the beginning of the summit process, the establishment of the Global Centre of Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) is the most notable of all the initiatives taken by India.

    The NPT is also a key instrument for global nuclear governance. A key problem with the NPT is that only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are recognized as ‘nuclear weapon states’. Three states—India, Pakistan and Israel—have never signed the NPT. Although India, which is a nuclear weapon country, is not a signatory to the NPT, it is supportive of global nuclear disarmament. At the same time, India also has an ambitious programme for civilian uses of nuclear energy to meet its growing energy needs. India is currently considering thorium as a future substitute for fuelling its nuclear reactors.

    The conference has the following themes:

    1. Understanding Global Nuclear Governance
    2. Challenges and Opportunities for Global Nuclear Governance
    3. India and Global Nuclear Governance
    4. Multilateral Export Control Regimes and India
    5. Nuclear Security, the Summit Process and Global Nuclear Governance
    6. The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and After: Setting the agenda
    7. Existing Nuclear Security Institutions: Coordination and Integration
    8. Role of Civil Society in Nuclear Security

    Download Conference Report


    Day 1 (February 24, 2016)

    0930-1000: Registration
    1000-1030: Inaugural Session
    Chair: Jayant Prasad

    Opening Address by Shri Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary, Disarmament & International Security Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs

    1030-1045 Tea/Coffee break

    1045-1300 Session-1: Understanding Global Nuclear Governance
    Global Nuclear Governance- an oft-used phrase- at times, means differently for its users. Dominant writings on the subject restrict the scope of the phrase to safety, security and non-proliferation. However, a strong section of the international policy making community wants nuclear disarmament part of global nuclear governance. The session will discuss different perspectives on Global Nuclear Governance. The idea will be to examine whether different perspectives can have some common areas to start implementing the idea of global nuclear governance.
    Chair : C Uday Bhaskar

    • Trevor Findlay -- Principal Fellow , School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
    • WPS Sidhu -- Non Resident Senior fellow, Brookings India
    • Shalini Chawla
      Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies
    • Anna Sliwon -- Consultant, British Pugwash

    1300 Luncheon Address by Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, Prime Minister Office

    1330-1415 Lunch

    1415-1615 Session-2: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Nuclear Governance
    With the evolution of the idea of Global Nuclear Governance, the international community is finding its usefulness for managing diverse activities of nuclear science and technology. Different sections of the international community are participating in global nuclear governance. The participation of civil society and the global expert community has immensely benefited global nuclear governance. Still, for global nuclear governance to become really effective and functioning, the international community has to confront some key challenges. Institutions and processes of global nuclear governance need to be well co-ordinated and properly funded. The technological solution is another challenge. The session will discuss challenges and opportunities for global governance.
    Chair: RR Subramanian

    • Cindy Vestergaard -- Senior Researcher, International Security at the Danish Institute for International Studies
    • G Balachandran -- Consulting Fellow, IDSA
    • Rajesh Rajagopalan -- Professor of International Politics, Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    • Patricia Lewis -- Research Director, International Security
      The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House

    1615-1630 Tea/Coffee break

    1630-1830 Session-3: Global Nuclear Governance and India
    India supports the idea of global governance. Since the idea of global governance in general and global nuclear governance in particular is still evolving, India, so far, has associated itself with the current general understanding of global governance. India has contributed to global nuclear governance in most of the international institutions meant for global nuclear governance. India has also participated in the making and implementation of the regimes for global nuclear governance. The international community expects a rising power like India to shape the very evolution of global governance by addressing challenges it is facing now. This session will discuss how India is approaching global nuclear governance and how it can contribute to meeting challenges of global nuclear governance.
    Chair : Virendra Gupta

    • Arvind Awati -- Scientist, Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai
      Reynaldo Morales, Former Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
    • Steinar Hoibraten -- Chief Scientist, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)
    • Roshan Khaniejo -- Senior Research Fellow & Research Coordinator, United Service Institution of India

    Day-2 (February 25, 2016)

    1000-1200 Session-4: Multilateral Export Control Regimes and India
    Multilateral export control regimes are important centers for managing global commerce in high technology items. The Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement are the four relevant multilateral export control regimes in the contemporary world. In the twenty first century, the world is witnessing changes in these regimes. Although these regimes still have a small membership base, yet over the years, it is attracting members from the developing world as well. India is seeking membership of these export controls regimes. The session will discuss how the Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime is going to contribute to global nuclear governance.
    Chair: K Santhanam

    • Ian Stewart -- Senior Research Fellow, Department of War Studies , King's College London
    • Arvind Madhavan -- Director, Disarmament & International Security Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs
    • Benjamin Hautecouverture -- Research Fellow ,Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique , Paris
    • Anupam Srivastava -- Director of the Asia Program, Center for International Trade and Security, University of Georgia

    1200-1215 Tea/Coffee Break

    1215-1315 Session-5: The Way Forward
    Chair: C Raja Mohan

    Panel Discussion

    • Dr.Sheel Kant Sharma -- Former Secretary General of SAARC
    • Bruno Hellendorff, Researcher, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP )
    • Priyanjali Malik -- Independent researcher

    1315-1400 Lunch

    Focus: Nuclear Security and India

    1400-1430 Opening Session: Nuclear Security
    Chair: Jayant Prasad
    Opening Address: R B Grover -- Vice-Chancellor, Homi Bhabha National Institute
    Nuclear terrorism has emerged as a serious threat to global security. International efforts are on to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, disintegrating black markets, and detect, intercept and recover illicitly trafficked materials. The process towards global nuclear security architecture that is comprehensive and based on international standards needs to be further strengthened. This enhances international confidence in nations’ nuclear security implementation and also helps reduce global stocks of nuclear weapons-usable materials. India has been playing an active role in strengthening the global nuclear security architecture.

    1430-1630 Session-1: Nuclear Security, the Summit Process and Global Nuclear Governance

    Considering nuclear terrorism a serious international security issue, the Nuclear Security Summits intend to raise awareness among governments and civil society and galvanise them into securing vulnerable nuclear material from falling into the hands of Non state actors and pre-vent proliferation of nuclear weapons. The three Nuclear Summits held at Washington(2010), Seoul (2012) and the Hague (2014) have generated a lot of positive momentum and have achieved tangible improvements in the security of nuclear materials and encouraged the development of stronger international institutions that support nuclear security. The International Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and International convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism besides the landmark UNSC resolution 1540 found more members. India has enthusiastically participated in the summits and contributed to global nuclear governance. The session will review the nuclear security scenario. It will also review the contribution of the summit process to nuclear security and global nuclear governance.
    Chair: S. Gangotra

    • Vladimir Rybachenkov -- Senior Research Associate, Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, Moscow
    • K.L. Ramakumar -- Distinguished Scientist and Head, Nuclear Controls and Planning Wing, Department of Atomic Energy
    • Ranajit Kumar -- Head Physical Protection Systems Section, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

    1630-1645 Tea/Coffee Break

    1645-1830 Session-2: The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and After: Setting the agenda

    The upcoming nuclear security summit in Washington could be the last of the four and there is a marked urgency to institutionalise a permanent mechanism to address global nuclear security concerns. How successfully have states followed up on pledges of the previous summits and which institution will lead the agenda beyond Washington (2016)? It is expected that the IAEA’s role at the helm of the non-proliferation regime is only slated to be-come all the more indispensable thereafter. India continues to contribute towards a comprehensive nuclear security architecture that will strengthen nuclear governance and increase the confidence of the nuclear security regime. Should the summit process be restructured? Does the international community need a new institution? Should the world have a new regime? Or should we adapt the existing mechanisms for new challenges and requirements? The session will discuss ideas for the 2016 summit and how to steer activities after-wards in different international organisations and forums.

    Chair: K.L. Ramakumar

    • Vitaly Fedchenko -- Senior Researcher , European Security Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
    • Anil Kumar -- Inspector General (Security) , Department of Atomic Energy
    • H P Nawada -- Scientific Officer, Nuclear Controls and Planning Wing, Department of Atomic Energy

    Day-3 (February 26, 2016)

    1000-1200 Session-3: Existing Nuclear Security Institutions: Coordination and Integration

    The Nuclear Security Summits witnessed the resolve by states to establish Centres of Excellence (COE) across the globe that will provide world-class research, training and education on various nuclear security topics. The GCNEP (Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership) that is coming up in India is slated to provide the ideal platform to strengthen the various dimensions of nuclear security in India. Some of the other COE’s include EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoEs),Pakistan’s Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS), Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS) and Japan’s Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN).The smooth interface among the above and IAEA is deemed crucial. The session will discuss how to enhance coordination among different international, multilateral, regional, and national bodies working for nuclear security. It will also discuss whether the international community can integrate their efforts.
    Chair: Arvind Awati

    • Luca Lentini -- Project Coordinator & Research Associate, Centre for Science and Security Studies, King’s College London
    • Reshmi Kazi -- Associate Fellow, IDSA
    • Y.S. Mayya -- Project Director, Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership

    1200-1215 Tea/Coffee Break

    1215-1330 Session-4: Role of Civil Society in Nuclear Security

    Role of civil society is pivotal in any regime. Who are the various actors among the civil society and how have they transformed the discourse on nuclear security? Some Intergovernmental organisations have made the discourse on nuclear security richer and relevant and are helping chalk out the agenda and strengthening the existing global nuclear security architecture. The Fissile Material Working Group--a coalition of non-governmental organisations—has spearheaded the campaign for nuclear security. This can play a different kind of role in organizing the global expert community and undertaking new tasks after the end of the possible summit process. The session will discuss the future role for international, regional and national non-governmental organisations.
    Chair: NN Jha

    • Noel Stott -- Senior Research Fellow, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, Institute of Security Studies (ISS), Pretoria
    • Rajiv Nayan -- Senior Research Associate, IDSA
    • Paul Walker -- Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability
      Green Cross International , Washington DC
    • Bharat Karnad -- Research Professor in National Security Studies, Centre for Policy Research

    1330-1430 Lunch

    1430-1530 Wrap up and the future agenda

    Chair: Jayant Prasad
    Panel Discussion