The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has confirmed that an industrial autoclave seized from the Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun could have been used for the manufacture of nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missiles or satellite launch rockets, reports WION.
Last month, India had detained a Karachi bound Chinese ship. It has now emerged that the Chinese ship was carrying nuclear-capable equipment to Pakistan. The ship was detained by Customs at Kandla Port while en-route to Port Qasim, Karachi, on February 3 on the basis of an intelligence tip-off.
Last month, India had detained a Karachi bound Chinese ship.
Now, it has emerged that this ship was carrying nuclear-capable equipment to Pakistan.
This report has the details pic.twitter.com/lEZhsAyxh3
— WION (@WIONews) March 4, 2020
The ship had left Jiangyin Port on Yangtze river in China’s Jiangsu province on January 17, 2020, and was bound for Port Qasim in Karachi, Pakistan when it was intercepted at Kandla port on an intelligence tip-off. Port Qasim is in Karachi, Sindh, where Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), responsible for Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme is based.
Later, the ship was allowed to proceed to the Pakistani port on February 20 after the dual-use (civilian and military) equipment was seized. The autoclave was wrongly declared as an industrial dryer.
However, analysts at DRDO have now confirmed that the ship was carrying nuclear technologies from China to Pakistan.
“The autoclave can be used for the manufacture of the motor of very long-range missiles, with range upwards of 1,500 kilometres 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 kilometre range and the platform was tested last May,” said one of the officials to Hindustan Times.
According to DRDO’s technical experts, the seized 18-metre by 4-metre autoclave can indeed be used in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) platforms. An autoclave is a pressure chamber which carries out various industrial and scientific processes. Prima facie, it can be used for civilian as well as military purposes.
With nuclear scientists at DRDO confirming that the Chinese ship was indeed carrying nuclear equipment to Pakistan, the customs can now seize the cargo and charge the vessel and its owners for violations of Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) export regulations.
Further, it is now up to India’s national security decision-makers to invoke the Weapons of Mass Destruction 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.