By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today
Indian army chief Bipin Rawat on September 22, this year threatened Pakistan with retaliation over its alleged involvement in last week’s killing of a border guard and policemen in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
Indian electronic media quoted Gen, Rawat as saying: “We need to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that terrorists and Pakistan Army have been carrying out”, and threatened “surprise attack [surgical strike] on Pakistan…teaching Pakistan a lesson.”
The remarks come a day after New Delhi called off a meeting scheduled for next week between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India.
On the same day, reacting to the Indian army chief’s threat and reckless remarks, the Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor advised “India not to get into war-mongering as a ruse to deflect international challenges…Pakistan is a nuclear nation and is ready to give a befitting reply to any misadventure…Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be taken for weakness…Pakistan is a peace loving country and has played an unparalleled role as forces of peace in the region.”
Warning India of stern military repercussions and urging Indian army chief to abstain from deteriorating peace situation, Gen. Ghafoor added: “War is never a solution to any problem. Pakistan has always positively responded to all peace initiatives. It’s India who backs out from the dialogue…Indian army has been indulged in its country’s politics in the wake of corruption scandals…the Indian government is under criticism internally from the opposition on various corruption scams and failure of economic agenda. Such statements are attempts to divert domestic narrative towards Pakistan…India is trying to divert attention from the domestic problem by calling off talks with Pakistan and resorting to baseless propaganda…No Pakistani troop was involved in the mutilation of an Indian soldier.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also expressed almost similar feelings and gave a matching response to the Indian army chief’s threat.
In its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) disclosed on 18, this year that an estimated 110-130 Indian nuclear bombs are stored in six or so government–run sites across India. Within the next five years to one decade, as many as 60 reactors will also be functional in India with the active cooperation of the US led western and far eastern allies.
In the past, several incidents of leakage and theft in addition to alarming episodes of lax security on existing nuclear sites in view of a history of civil tumult have occurred in India. India is notorious for highly lax security of its nuclear facilities. The episode of 8 October 2014 at Kalpakkam, when a soldier of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) responsible for protecting nuclear materials, went on a rampage to destroy the security of the facility leading to nuclear material theft by criminals. This and many incidents in the past including theft and leakage incidents of 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2013 are alarming examples of what inside and outside officials depict as serious short-comings in India’s nuclear safeguards.
India and Japan have a bad record of nuclear reactor leakage due to various reasons which consequently proved disastrous. But, Indian poor nuclear security has broken all the records.
Indian media reported on July 5, this year that the Kolkata police have arrested five men with 1 kg of uranium valued at around Rs. 3 crores ($440,000).
The Times of India elaborated that the men had come to Kolkata in the state of West Bengal to try to sell the substance. Police were quoted as saying that two packets of a “yellow-coloured substance” were seized.
It is notable that when the US former President Barack Obama hosted the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on March 31, 2016 to check the spread of nuclear weapons, showing concerns about the ambitions of terrorist groups such as the ISIS in acquiring a nuclear weapon or radioactive material, , the US President Donald Trump had taken a different stand in his interview with the CNN by stating, “More nuclear weapons could make the world safer…US can no longer afford to bankroll the defense of its allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East…Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia may need arsenals to confront threats in their region on their own.”
Similarly, by pursuing the double standards of America and some Western countries in its worst form, President Trump also favoured India, while opposing the nuclear weapons of Pakistan. Because, being the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, Pakistan annoys the US, Israel and some Western countries. As a matter of fact, it is Zionist agenda to ‘denculearise’ Pakistan. However, like Obama, Trump has brushed aside the ground realities that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led by the ruling fundamentalist party BJP has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda.
As part of their double game, these US-led countries have ignored Indian poor record of nuclear security, non-proliferation, lack of safety of workers, working at Indian nuclear facilities and lack of any appropriate regulatory authority.
Indian past record proves various kinds of security and safety lapses regarding various nuclear plants and the related sensitive materials, including events of leakage, nuclear theft, smuggling and killing.
In this regard, in November, 2009, more than 90 Indian workers suffered radiation due to contamination of drinking water at the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka.
On July 27, 1991, a similar event occurred at the heavy water plant run by the Department of Atomic Energy at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan. Nuclear radiation had affected and injured many laborers there.
In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized eight Kg. of nuclear material from three engineers in Chennai, which was stolen from an atomic research center.
On November 7, 2000, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disclosed that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA had revealed that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts.
On January 26, 2003, CNN pointed out that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipment entailing titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps.
In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.
In June 2009, India’s nuclear scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam missed from the scenario and after a couple of days; his dead body was recovered from the Kali River. Indian police concocted a story that Mahalingam had committed suicide by jumping into the river. It is a big joke to hide some real facts behind his death because wisdom proves that if an educated person decides to commit suicide, he will definitely adopt a soft way to eliminate his life. Afterwards, Dr. Haleema Saadia said that death of the scientist was a conspiracy.
Nevertheless, such events in connection with nuclear material continued unabated in India, putting the security of atomic weapons and their related components, including the lives of workers at high risk.
It is mentionable that during his first visit to New Delhi, on November 6, 2010. President Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list”, and supported Indian demand membership of four key global nuclear nonproliferation regimes.
And as part of the double standards in relation to India and Pakistan, America set aside the Indian poor record regarding the safety of nuclear weapons and related materials. Despite, Indian violations of various international agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the IAEA, Washington signed a pact of nuclear civil technology with New Delhi in 2008. During American President Barack Obama’s visit to India, on January 25, 2016, the US and India announced a breakthrough on the pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology.
Notably, America is a potential military supplier to India. US also pressurized IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant a waiver to New Delhi for obtaining civil nuclear trade on larger scale.
Evidences indicate that India has not fulfilled the conditions of the NSG waiver. At least, eight of India’s nuclear reactors are outside safeguards which are a big question mark on the credibility of its nuclear safety and security standards. Two reports from the King’s College–respectively titled ‘India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism’ and ‘India’s Strategic Nuclear and Missile Program’ also claim that India has already accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons, including all of its unsafeguarded reactor-grade plutonium, which is weapon-usable, and raised concerns over this stockpiling.
In fact, in the pretext of countering China, Washington has continued favouring India’s programme of advancement and modernization of nuclear weapons. US supports Indian nuclear programme in the pretext of anti-China and anti-Pakistan approach. Beijing is apprehensive about the emerging threat, as during the last visit of Obama to New Delhi, the intent of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi was quite clear, while mentioning about free sea lanes and air passages in the South China Sea. President Trump is also pursuing the policy of his predecessor in this respect, as in the recent past, during his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, he showed similar approach.
Nonetheless, arms deals with America, which also include nuclear submarines to New Delhi, would increase Indian hegemonic designs in the region. And NSG’s membership of India will create concerns for regional strategic stability.
Besides obtaining atomic weapons from the US and other Western countries, New Delhi is, clandestinely, importing nuclear arms, components and submarines from Tel Aviv. In this connection, Zionist-led Indo-Israeli secret diplomacy could be assessed from the interview of Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, published in the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India’s defense arrangements with Tel Aviv, Sofer had surprisingly revealed, “We do have a defense relationship with India, and “with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret.”
Although these atomic weapons seem to be mysterious, yet still could be within the reach of some Hindu terrorists with the help of RAW which might have also got these destructive arms from Mossad. Such atomic weapons or radiological materials could have also been smuggled inside India by the Hindu fundamentalists with the covert assistance of RAW.
Frustrated in isolating Islamabad, RAW in connivance with Mossad might have prepared a most dangerous plan to use nuclear weapons or dirty nuclear bombs inside the US homeland or any major European country to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly used these weapons through some Taliban militants.
Particularly, RAW and Mossad may also employ these fatal weapons against NATO forces in Afghanistan, as India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the center of their covert activities against Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran. Terrorists of the Islamic State outfit (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) which are strategic assets of the CIA may be used by RAW and Mossad for employment of these unconventional weapons. While, India, Israel and America are also playing double game against one another, hence, by utilizing the vicious circle of terrorism, New Delhi can alone use these weapons through Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS which are also being backed by RAW, CIA and Mossad, and have claimed responsibility for several terror assaults inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the recent ones. So, RAW’s sole aim will be to provoke Americans and its allies against Islamabad which is challenging Indian hegemony in the region. Thus, Indian RAW could create a dangerous misunderstanding in which US could use small nuclear weapons against Pakistan or could ask the latter of rollback its atomic programme.
Undoubtedly, in such an environment, considering India qualified for acquiring of nuclear technology through “global powers” led NSG and IAEA and obstructing Pakistan’s safe nuclear energy programme is discriminatory as well as an effort to hinder peace and economic progress of Pakistan. And unsafe materials in nuclear facilities patrolled by low morale CISF troops across India are also liable to be stolen by insiders having grievances against employers and typical Hindu mindset of Indian leadership. These stolen materials could be used by Indian sponsored ISIS elements. Washington and its other allies, instead of pressing India for quick nuclear reforms are encouraging India to expand its nuclear stockpiles. The US led West need to take cognizance of such ventures rather than criticizing Pak-China civil nuclear cooperation.
In light of these negative developments, we can conclude that Indian insecure nuclear programme is threatening regional and global peace. Therefore, world’s various forums such as EU and UNO, including Russia should also take cognizance of New Delhi in this regard.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
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