New Delhi conveys nuclear proliferation concerns to Beijing
By SATimes Team
New Delhi: Experts from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have confirmed that an industrial autoclave seized from the Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun can be used for the manufacture of very long-range ballistic missiles or satellite launch rockets.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the Indian authorities had detained the Chinese vessel ”Da Cui Yan” when it berthed in Kandla Port in early February, as it had mis-declared the item that is was carrying. Kumar said the item has been seized by the Indian authorities as per the legal procedure. India, he said, has conveyed its concerns on this issue to China.
The spokesperson said that New Delhi had highlighted that as a friendly country, Beijing will take appropriate measures to ensure that the Chinese entities do not engage in activities that can contribute to proliferation, reported IANS.
DRDO’s confirmation exposes the nuclear nexus between China and its all-weather ally Pakistan, reported theprint.in. According to top government and intelligence officials, the DRDO’s technical experts and missile scientists informed the Kandla Customs, the ministry of external affairs and national security planners on Tuesday morning that the seized 18 meter by 4 meter autoclave can indeed be used in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) platforms.
“The autoclave can be used for the manufacture of the motor of very long range missiles, with range upwards of 1,500 km or even in the construction of a motor for the launch of satellites. Pakistan has the Shaheen II missile in the 1,500-2,000 km range and the platform was tested last May,” said one of the officials, who asked not to be named.
According to the officials, it is now up to India’s national security planners to invoke the WMD and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act 2005 as well as inform the UN under the WMD Convention to expose the nuclear proliferation nexus between Beijing and Islamabad. Under Indian law, any contravention of the above law attracts a punishment of not less than five years’ imprisonment which may be extended to imprisonment for life with an added fine. The autoclave was being imported by the Islamabad-based United Construction Company and Hong Kong-based General Technology had booked the consignment.
North Korea, initially, and then China have helped Pakistan in the development of nuclear missile delivery platforms by supplying M-11 and M-9 missiles. Islamabad’s nuclear missile program is not indigenous and is based on Chinese design with Beijing helping Islamabad since the 1980s. It is for no other reason that China is blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) till Pakistan is also allowed into the nuclear club.
Given the seizure of the autoclave, India’s friends such as France and the US can now pressure Beijing to allow India into the NSG, the officials said, adding that the country’s record in the context of nuclear proliferation was spotless.