Roundup of the week (March 27 – April 2) – IR


#2. Nuclear Security Summit 2016 (last summit)

Imp facts for prelims

– The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, DC in 2010, and was followed by Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014 and again in Washington in 2016

– There is no new organisation being set up, three existing institutions are expected to adopt specific action plan <UN, IAEA and Interpol>

– NSS covers nuclear material only for non-military purposes, 83% of the nuclear material falls outside its ambit

– Russia did not attend the summit

Threat of nuclear terrorism and need for enhanced nuclear security assumes importance as one of the Brussels suicide bomber was found to have tracked the movement of a senior official of a Belgian nuclear power plant. Also the ISIS has shown it’s interest in acquiring nuclear weapons.

Threats of nuclear terrorism

#1. Acquiring a nuclear weapon from the arsenal of a nuclear state <very unlikely and even if they do acquire, if would be difficult for them to mount them on missiles and launch. Also a code has to be broken before nuclear bombs can be launched>.

#2. Acquiring enough fissile material to construct an improvised nuclear device <again unlikely as first getting enough material is difficult, techology f bomb making even more challenging>

#3. Acquiring radioactive material from civilian sources such as hospitals or university laboratories, mixing them up with conventional explosives to make a radioactive dispersal device or ‘dirty bomb <most likely scenario as security and tracking is not foolproof in such places. Though damage would be limited but mass panic and hysteria plus cost of clean up>

#4. Sabotage a nuclear facility leading to large-scale loss of lives and destruction <have already tried to do that in Pak>

In this context, Pakistan becomes a dangerous state as it is installing short range tactical nuclear weapons and they are mounted on battlefield and thus more susceptible to being acquired by terrorists<What’s the difference b/w tactical and strategic weapons. Answer in comments.>

What has Summit achieved so far?

– About 15 MT of highly enriched uranium (HEU) have been down- blended to low-enriched uranium <can you tell us the difference b/s HEU and LEU>

– A number of reactors using HEU have either been shut down or switched their fuel

– 12 countries have given up all HEU, and fuel repatriation to source countries has been accelerated

However the major drawback of this process is that there is no legally binding outcome at the end of six years

What is the outcome of this summit

Amendment to nuclear security treaty that would tighten protections against nuclear theft and smuggling

What has PM Modi announced?

– Accord a high national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialized manpower.

– Development and deployment of technology to deter and defend against nuclear terrorism including physical and cyber barriers, technological approaches, setting up a facility for medical grade ‘Moly-99’ using low enriched Uranium and using vitrified forms of vulnerable radioisotopes such as Ceasium-137,

– Counter nuclear smuggling and strengthen the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material< dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team has been set up>

– 1m$ contribution to the nuclear security fund  of IAEA. A workshop with IAEA experts on International Physical Protection Assessment Service (IPPAS) will also be held in India

– Sharing of best practices through Centres of Excellence such as our own

– Host a meeting of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in 2017.

– International conference on countering nuclear smuggling is also being planned with Interpol

These are very very important points for pelims as well as mains <Moly 99, vitrified cesium, IPPAS etc> <Btw what’s the difference b/w nuclear safety and security? Answer in comments.>

#3. India-EU summit

EU-28 is India’s largest trading partner and biggest source of FDI <which country is our largest trading partner? Which country is our no.1 export market and which country export us the most? answers in comments>.

The EU-India strategic partnership was launched in 2004. The last summit i.e. 12th edition was held in 2012 in New Delhi

Outcomes of the summit

‘EU-India Agenda for Action 2020‘ as a common road map for the strategic partnershipin the next five years

Terrorism: Joint Declaration on Counter-terrorism to step up cooperation to counter radicalisation and violent extremism

Climate Change -Joint Declaration on a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership

Loan assistance to Lucknow Metro by European Investment Bank (EIB)

Water Partnership: enhance cooperation on environment issues, including on the ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ flagship programmes.

Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement: extend this agreement until 2020 to boost innovation and research in India and Europe.

Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility: aimed at organising regular migration and prevention of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)

It has been pending since 2007 and was suspended last year when EU imposed ban against more than 700 generic drugs . Both sides have agreed to resume negotiations

What’s holding back the signing of BTIA

India’s interests

#1. Greater market accesses to its professionals (MODE 4 of GATS)

#2. Data Secure status to allow SMEs to compete in BPO, KPO space (Mode 1 of GATS)- he high cost of compliance with existing EU’s data protection laws and procedures renders Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) un-competitive <what is data secure status? Answer in comments>

#3. EU To reduce its agriculture subsidies

EU’s demands

#1. Lowering of tariffs on automobiles and wine spirits and dairy products

#2. But tariff cuts in the agricultural sector would mean Europe’s heavily subsidised agro industry will dump its surplus here, hitting Indian farmers <INdia’s concern>

#3. Further liberalization of FDI in multi-brand retail and insurance, and presently closed sectors like accountancy and legal services <Mode 3 of WTO)

#4. TRIPS + IPR regime- data exclusivity protection measures (which allow pharmaceutical companies to exclusively retain rights to their test results for a certain period) would delay the supply of Indian generic medicines <strict no no for India) <what is data exclusivity? Answer in comments>

We shall explain GATS and TRIPS plus in detail in separate article on WTO.


#4. PM’s visit to Saudi Arabia

#1. Saudi Arabia is our largest supplier of oil (20%) and the fourth largest trading partner s><who is the largest trading partner? Answer in comment>

#2. The population of Indian expats in the Kingdom is estimated to be around 2.96m ( of our 7m diaspora in West Asia ).

#3. The Saudi king is the custodian of the two holy mosques and this matters a great deal to India’s 170 million Muslims, the country’s largest religious minority.

In 2010 on PM Singh’s visit to Riyadh, ties were elevated to the status of strategic partnership. Since then intelligence and security cooperation has expanded manifold and Saudi extradited Abu Jindal to India.

Focus areas

– Counter terrorism <deradicalization, counter radicalization and intelligence cooperation>

– Military cooperation-Training and Joint execrcises

– Trade and investment <attracting Saudi investment into infrastructure. Investment so far has been below par>

Tight rope walk

– Balancing relations with Saudi , Iran and Israel at the same time

– India’s stand on war in Syria and Yemen


To dehyphenate India from Pak where relationship with Saudi is concerned as Stronger relationships with Pakistan’s allies can help India get a more sympathetic hearing on global and regional forums and put pressure on Islamabad to rein in militants.

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily