HomeIndian Defencenuclear cargo: India halts Pakistan-bound ship from China suspected of carrying nuclear...

nuclear cargo: India halts Pakistan-bound ship from China suspected of carrying nuclear cargo

Indian security agencies have intercepted a Pakistan-bound ship from China at Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port. The ship, CMA CGM Attila, was suspected to be carrying a ‘dual-use consignment’ that could be used by Islamabad in its nuclear and ballistics missile programme. The consignment included a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine by an Italian company, which was inspected by customs officials and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

The DRDO certified that the CNC machine could be used in manufacturing critical parts for Pakistan’s missile development programme. The consignment, weighing 22,180 kilograms, was shipped by Taiyuan Mining Import and Export Co Ltd and was meant for Cosmos Engineering in Pakistan. The consignment was seized under the prevention of possible proliferation by Pakistan and China.

Indian Security Agencies Alerted by Port Officials

The port officials had alerted Indian defense authorities, who inspected the heavy cargo and reported their suspicions. The consignment was seized, highlighting concerns that Pakistan might be using China as a conduit to acquire restricted items from Europe and the US, masking identities to evade detection.

CNC Machines and Wassenaar Arrangement

CNC machines are controlled by a computer and offer efficiency, consistency, and accuracy not possible manually. These machines have been included in the Wassenaar Arrangement since 1996. This international arms control regime aims to stop the proliferation of equipment with both civilian and military uses, with India being among the 42 member countries exchanging information on transfers of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.Previous Instances of Seized ItemsThis is not the first instance of Indian port officials seizing dual-use military-grade items being shipped from China to Pakistan. In February 2020, China was supplying an autoclave to Pakistan under the cover of an “industrial dryer.” Cosmos Engineering, a Pakistani defense supplier, has been on a watchlist since March 12, 2022, when Indian authorities intercepted a shipment of Italian-made thermoelectric instruments at the Nhava Sheva port.

India halts Pakistan-bound ship from China suspected of carrying nuclear cargoTOI.in

US Sanctions on Chinese Companies

In June 2023, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) sanctioned three Chinese companies for their involvement in supplying missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme. The companies sanctioned were General Technology Limited (autoclave supplier to Pakistan), Beijing Luo Luo Technology Development, and Changzhou Utek Composite Company.

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