This Article is From Nov 12, 2016

On Everything Nuclear, Pakistan Been Far Cleverer Than India

It is well known that unlike India, China became a nuclear weapon state well before the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) came into force in March 1970. 

As such, in the NPT, China was recognized as a nuclear weapon state and India was put in the category of non-weapon states, which could not acquire or posses nuclear weapons ever in the future. Unfortunately, China has not shown any respect for the obligations and responsibilities which came with its status as a nuclear weapon state. It found a clandestine way to escape these conditionalities and continued to violate them with impunity. It wanted to help its two close friends, Pakistan and North Korea, in the area of nuclear and missile technology. So it worked out a neat and convenient arrangement with them under which it agreed to supply nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan and missile technology to North Korea. Pakistan and North Korea were then supposed to exchange these technologies and arm themselves with both nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them at the desired destination. The world soon came to know about this clandestine trade, but turned a blind eye to it with consequences, which are there for all to see today. 

When India went for its nuclear tests in May 1998, Pakistan was already a nuclear weapons state. The tests enabled India to only establish strategic parity with Pakistan in the area of nuclear weapons, not to overtake it. The Pakistani nuclear tests of 1998 were a sham only to enable it to come out of the closet. While the Indian nuclear development programme has all along been an entirely indigenous programme developed by Indian scientists with very little help from elsewhere, the Pakistani nuclear programme has been based entirely on charity by China and the theft of nuclear technology and equipment from other sources, AQ Khan notwithstanding. No wonder, therefore, that India has always been regarded as a responsible nuclear state and Pakistan as an irresponsible violator of all norms. It is a pity therefore that China is playing into the hands of Pakistan and opposing India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It is even more surprising that imitating India as it always does, Pakistan has also become a candidate for the membership of the NSG, and India has found it fit to say that it has no objection if Pakistan is also admitted as a member.

India entered into binding commitments, even compromising on its sovereignty, when it entered into the nuclear deal with the US. When the deal was being negotiated, we were told that India would be able to get from the US and other countries sensitive and sophisticated technologies specially in the area of enrichment and reprocessing of spent fuel. India had even agreed to set up a separate reprocessing facility to ensure that the civilian nuclear programme was kept completely away from its weapons programme. It also agreed to place this new facility under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The US has already gone back on this commitment and ensured that no other country also would be able to supply such technologies to India by encouraging the NSG to impose a ban on the transfer of such technology to non-NPT states in 2011. India has not only kept, quiet but has also gone ahead with the implementation of this flawed and now broken deal. 

And what has Pakistan done?

It has quietly entered into arrangements with China under which it gets what India gets under the nuclear deal with America and more, but without any of the conditionalities which cripple us under the US deal. Obviously, once again Pakistan has been cleverer than us. According to informed reports, it has more nuclear bombs than India and unlike us, no commitment of no-first-use. Despite the NPT of which China is a signatory, Pakistan continues to get nuclear technology and equipment from it and despite the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). it continues to get missile technology from Beijing and North Korea.

King's College of London has now come out with a startling report which damns both China and Pakistan fully and completely. The Centre for Science and Security Studies at King's College undertook a project called Project Alpha. This project was established in 2011 with funding from the British Government to counter illicit nuclear proliferation-related trade. Extracts from the report, which have been published by the Hindustan Times, and generally ignored by the other newspapers, clearly establish the nexus which exists between China and Pakistan as far as illegal trade in nuclear materials, equipment and technologies is concerned. According to this report, Pakistan maintains a network of at least 20 trading companies in mainland China, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore and uses them to covertly funnel dual-use goods to its strategic programmes. These companies procure these goods from manufacturers in Europe, US, China and elsewhere and then export them to Pakistan. The report says that the scale of Islamabad's procurement of sensitive material from Beijing is so substantial that it must be concluded that the Chinese state is either complicit in supplying Pakistan's programmes, or negligent in its control over state-owned enterprises. China is the most important supplier of all forms of goods to Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes. Chinese private firms are big suppliers, so are the state-owned enterprises, and they knowingly supply Pakistan's strategic programmes with sensitive equipment. Pakistan's claim that it is a responsible nuclear state stands completely destroyed by these deceptive and clandestine operations. The report concludes 'Pakistan cannot expect to be welcomed into the NSG when it continues to secretly and systematically undermine NSG members' national export systems through the use of front companies and other deceptive techniques.' 

For India, this is a God-sent opportunity to expose both China and Pakistan. It should use this report to the hilt to ensure that Pakistan is never admitted into the NSG and should withdraw its ill-considered advocacy of Pakistan's case.   

(Yashwant Sinha is a senior BJP leader and former Union Minister of External Affairs.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.