India alleges Pakistani hand in North Korean nuclear test


India officially protested against the third nuclear test by North Korea on Wednesday, which it sees as evidence of a clandestine proliferation network from Pakistan, the Indian media quoted officials as saying on Wednesday.
Indian officials stressed that if the test was found to have been conducted with enriched uranium, it would confirm Pakistani “proliferation linkages”.
Criticising North Korea for violating international commitments, New Delhi asked Pyongyang “to refrain from such actions which adversely impact peace and stability in the region”.
Sources said the test revealed significantly improved technical capabilities of the North Koreans, which in itself suggested heightened proliferation activities.
“If the speculation is correct that the test was carried out through enriched uranium, it would demonstrate cascading and clandestine proliferation linkages,’’ an Indian official said.
After the test on Tuesday, North Korea also announced that its nuclear capabilities had diversified, fuelling more speculation that enriched uranium was used for the test.
KCNA, North Korea’s official news agency, said, “It was confirmed that the nuclear test that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturised and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force. It did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment.”
South Korea recorded seismic activity compatible with a six-seven kiloton explosion. If this is confirmed, North Korea, officials said, could be well on its way to building a functional nuclear warhead, though its delivery systems may take a while to develop.
“When you talk about any nuclear test conducted by North Korea, the role of Pakistan can never be far behind,’’ Indian official said.
Pakistan on Tuesday yet again blocked moves to facilitate negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) in the Conference on Disarmament. Indian official said both developments were inter-related.
According to reports, Pakistan has prevented negotiations for FMCT citing asymmetry with India in its fissile material stockpile. In its nuclear tests of 2006 and 2009, North Korea used plutonium and it was only in 2010 that it was revealed that the country had a sophisticated uranium enrichment programme. The existence of North Korea’s Yongbyon centrifuge plant used for enriching uranium became public in 2010, when Pyongyang allowed foreign experts to visit the facility.
Separately, the Indian assessment of the nuclear test is that it was a failure of Chinese foreign policy. The Pyongyang account has been the responsibility of Beijing, but China has failed to restrain North Korea both from going steadily down the nuclear path or persuading it to come to the negotiating table at the six-party talks.
The test puts Beijing in an unenviable position. It has already supported fresh sanctions by the UN Security Council, which has piled them on North Korea. Beijing could support further sanctions, or it could take unilateral action against Pyongyang. Both ways, it risks ruining ties with one of its closest allies. Beijing-Pyongyang ties have been strained of late.
Last week, the Chinese government used the Global Times to warn North Korea. In an editorial, it said, “If North Korea insists on a third nuclear test despite attempts to dissuade it, it must pay a heavy price. The assistance it will be able to receive from China should be reduced. The Chinese government should make this clear beforehand to shatter any illusions Pyongyang may have.”


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