IAEA Chief Meets Prime Minister Modi: Fostering India-IAEA Ties Across Diverse Sectors

IAEA Director General met with India's Prime Minister in New Delhi, 23 October. (Photo: Prime Minister’s Office, India)

By Elifnaz Kabalci, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication                                               

IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, on Monday, as part of his four-day visit to India. The two leaders discussed ways to foster India-IAEA ties across diverse sectors. “India’s civil nuclear programme is key for its decarbonization. Prime Minister Modi and I agreed on the importance of financing and technology access, placing nuclear at the forefront of global solutions,” Mr. Grossi said. The leaders will “intensify cooperation” ahead of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in the United Arab Emirates and next year’s Nuclear Energy Summit in Belgium, Grossi added.

Prime Minister Modi said that the “fruitful discussion” with Director-General Grossi, “explored avenues for expanding the role of nuclear energy to meet [India’s] net zero commitment, and extending nuclear technology applications in areas like food, health, water treatment and countering plastic pollution in the Global South.”

Mr. Grossi’s visit to India this week is his first as Director-General of the IAEA. He is meeting with Indian policy makers, scientists, researchers and engineers in India’s nuclear energy programme on the role of nuclear energy and technology for India’s development, as well as nuclear non-proliferation and international cooperation.

India has 19 nuclear reactors producing about 3 per cent of its electricity. With an additional eight reactors under construction and more planned, India is currently the world’s second-largest domestic builder of nuclear power plants. India’s three-stage nuclear power programme builds towards using the country’s abundant thorium reserves. India’s approach comes with a potentially global increase in the abundance of energy resource and is being closely watched, so is India’s transition to a greener economy.

A Member State since 1957, India collaborates with the IAEA through various means, such as contributing to key programmes like the Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative to advance the harmonization and standardization of small modular reactor (SMR) design, construction, regulatory and industrial approaches. The Director General aims to strengthen this and other collaborations with the country to draw benefit from India’s scientific and institutional capacities.

“Nuclear energy and technology play a big role in India’s development, benefiting its people. We aim to further strengthen our collaboration with India to maximize the potential of initiatives, such as Rays of Hope and Atoms4Food,” Grossi said.

As an inaugural speaker of the distinguished lecture series of the Ministry of External Affairs at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS), Grossi delivered remarks on opportunities and challenges in promoting nuclear power for sustainable development, engaging with both young and experienced diplomats. “The IAEA’s partnership with India helps us make ‘Atoms for Peace and Development’ a reality,” he stated.

On Wednesday, Grossi visited the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in India, meeting with the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary to the DAE Ajit Kumar Mohanty, as well as other senior officials of DAE.

Grossi will visit Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on Thursday and meet with the Director of BARC, Shri Vivek Bhasin. BARC is India’s premier nuclear research facility headquartered in Mumbai and home to the Dhruva reactor, India’s largest nuclear research reactor.

After delivering remarks in Trombay Colloquium at BARC, Grossi will visit the Food Technology Division (FTD), as well as the Advance Centre for Training, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC). He will meet with the Director of ARTEC and other senior faculty members.

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