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India intercepts Pakistan-bound ship in Mumbai port on suspicion of carrying nuclear cargo: Report
Image Credit: Representational Image (Wikimedia Commons)

India intercepts Pakistan-bound ship in Mumbai port on suspicion of carrying nuclear cargo: Report

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Mar 2024, 09:02 pm

Mumbai: Security agencies halted a ship bound for Karachi from China at Nhava Sheva port in Mumbai over suspicions of carrying a dual-use consignment potentially linked to Pakistan's nuclear and ballistic missile programme, a media report said. 

The ship, a Malta-flagged vessel named CMA CGM Attila, was intercepted on January 23 following intelligence input.

Customs officials inspected the cargo, which included a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine manufactured by an Italian company.

CNC machines are computer-controlled and offer high efficiency and precision. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) verified that the machine could be used by Pakistan for its nuclear program, particularly in manufacturing critical missile components, according to the report.

CNC machines have been regulated under the Wassenaar Arrangement since 1996, an international arms control regime aiming to curb the proliferation of items with both civilian and military applications.

India, as one of the 42 member countries, participates in information exchange concerning transfers of such goods and technologies.

The CNC machine intercepted in this instance was earlier used in North Korea's nuclear program.

Indian port officials, acting on specific intelligence, alerted defence authorities and subsequently seized the consignment.

Investigations revealed discrepancies in the shipping details, indicating potential attempts to conceal the true destination and recipient of the cargo.

This incident is not an isolated one; previously, Indian authorities seized similar military-grade items en route from China to Pakistan.

Cosmos Engineering, a Pakistani defence supplier, has been under scrutiny since a prior interception of Italian-made equipment at Nhava Sheva port.

Concerns persist over Pakistan potentially using China as a conduit to procure restricted items from Europe and the US. Such covert shipments highlight ongoing cooperation between China and Pakistan in potential proliferation activities, contrary to international agreements and regulations.

In a separate incident, a Chinese ship carrying an autoclave, suspected to be intended for Pakistan's missile program, was seized in 2020.

This further asserts apprehensions about Pakistan's illegal trade in missiles and its violations of international missile control regimes.

In response, the US Bureau of Industry and Security sanctioned several Chinese companies involved in supplying missile-related items to Pakistan's ballistic missile program in 2023.

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