Listen to India`s voice on nuclear disarmament: ElBaradei

IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei on Tuesday hailed India as a "leading advocate" for nuclear disarmament and asked the world to listen to its "voice" on elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2009, 16:17 PM IST

New Delhi: IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei
on Tuesday hailed India as a "leading advocate" for nuclear
disarmament and asked the world to listen to its "voice" on
elimination of all nuclear weapons.

"India called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons
as far back as 1948. It is important that India`s voice should
continue to be heard as a leading advocate for nuclear
disarmament," he said addressing the International Conference
on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy here.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director
General said if hopes of a nuclear weapons-free world have to
be turned into reality, "we have to start laying the
groundwork for a global security system that does not depend
on nuclear weapons".

It has to be a system built on human solidarity and
equity; a system based on cooperation and not confrontation;
on inclusion and not exclusion, ElBaradei said.

Lauding India`s role in peaceful uses of nuclear energy,
he said the country continues to set the agenda for research
and development in the field of sodium-cooled fast breeder
reactors.

In the field of nuclear applications, he said "India is
making radiation and nuclear medicine increasingly available
in rural areas."

Expressing concern over the increase in the number of
nations possessing nuclear weapons, ElBaradei said he was
"gratified" that nuclear disarmament has now moved back to the
top of the international agenda.

"Russia and the US are negotiating significant cuts in
their nuclear arsenals. There is increasing global recognition
that nuclear weapons are a threat to us all and growing
momentum for their complete abolition," he said.

The IAEA chief asserted that every country had the right
to develop nuclear power but said such nations have to ensure
that nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful to
military purposes.

"Every country has the right to add nuclear power to its
energy mix, as well as a duty to do it responsibly.

"That means adhering to the highest safety and security
standards and ensuring that nuclear material is not diverted
from peaceful to military purposes," he said.

ElBaradei noted that most of the 30 countries already
using nuclear energy had plans to expand their output and many
countries – mostly in the developing world – have informed the
IAEA about their interest in harnessing atomic power.

"Growth targets have been raised significantly here in
India, as well as in China and in the Russian Federation. Asia
remains the focus of growth in nuclear power because of this
region`s robust economic growth," he said.

Bureau Report