Sino-Pak Nuclear collusion: A Threat to India
More than a century back, Swami Vivekananda, the cyclonic patriotic monk who propagated the luminous message of Vedanta to the four quarters of the globe, had clearly foreseen the threat that India would face from China. “Remember China is a sleeping giant when she shall open her years, it shall be directed towards India,” were the prophetic words uttered by Swami Vivekananda. Unfortunately, the ruling dispensation of the post- Independent India led by the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a spineless leader lacking in vision, could hardly foresee the “disturbing dimensions” of the Chinese threat to India culminating in the full fledged aggression in 1962. Indeed, Nehru’s leadership proved disastrous for India in so far as countering the Chinese threat to the territorial integrity of the country was concerned. Even this day, India lags way behind China in defence preparedness and combat readiness. And for this pathetic state of affairs, the contribution of the lacklustre UPA-II Government sinking rapidly under the weight of “scams and scandals” is as immense as it is monumental.
Even while making occasional incursions into Indian Territory close to the international borders, China continues to provide “overt and covert” support to Pakistan in its quest of building a nuclear arsenal as a counterpoise to India. Thanks to the unstinted Chinese support to Pakistan, this “failed state” has today in its possession more than 100 nuclear weapons.
Recently, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, had come out with the statement that the co-operation of his country with Pakistan on the nuclear programme would continue. He also pointed out that Pak-China civilian nuclear cooperation was as per the Vienna based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), of which China is a member, clearly forbids its members from transferring the nuclear technology to countries that have not signed NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty). Pakistan happens to be a non-signatory to NPT.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Science and International Security(ISIS), reveals that Pakistan is close to completing the external construction of a fourth reactor building at the Khushab nuclear power complex that produces plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons development programme. The Khushab complex is located 200-kms to the south of the capital city of Islamabad.
The well documented ISIS study notes that the increased capability “would allow Pakistan to build a larger number of miniaturised plutonium based nuclear weapons in order to complement its existing arsenal of highly enriched uranium weapons.” The unsafeguarded Khushab plutonium reactor is suspected to be a key element in the development weapons grade plutonium.
As it is, China was also instrumental in helping Pakistan to complete the process of setting up of its plutonium reprocessing facility at Chashma. The Chashma plutonium reprocessing plant was originally to be completed by France but was suspended in 1979 with France pulling out of the agreement under US pressure.
According to an ISIS report, April 2011, Pakistan was allegedly operating an illegal network in the US to procure goods including switching and radiation detection equipment and nuclear grade resin, for its Chashma plant. There is no denying that all along China played a crucial role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure. As it is, in 1990s, China designed and supplied heavy water Khushab reactors which played a key role in Pakistan’s production of plutonium. It is an open secret that one of the subsidiaries of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) contributed to Pakistan’s efforts to expand its uranium enrichment capabilities that facilitate the high speed of centrifuge for the process of enriching weapons grade uranium.
AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development programme, had clearly referred to the crucial role played by China in supporting Pakistan’s nuclear weaponisation by providing 50-kg of enriched weapons grade uranium, nuclear weapons blueprint as well as some quantity of Uranium Hexaflouride for the centrifuge facility being set by Pakistan. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development programme is the possibility of some of the well entrenched Islamic radical outfits accessing the nuclear weapons for use against their ”perceived enemies” across a vast geographical swath. India can afford to ignore the possibility of this unpleasant development at its own peril.