- US should examine what its friends are up to
The Occident has been accusing Pakistan for alleged nuclear proliferation. Despite the concrete steps taken by Pakistan after the identification of the Dr AQ Khan network in 2004 and establishing security checks and balances comparable to developed countries’ nuclear programs, Pakistan continues to be whipped and sordid assumptions are made of ragtag militia making away with nuclear devices from Pakistan’s arsenal and threatening the world.
With the rise of North Korean nuclear devices and the war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, especially on New Year 2018 when the latter warned that the entire US mainland is within reach of Korean ICBMs and Trump’s tweet, that “my nuclear button is bigger and more powerful than Kim’s”, focus has been on how North Korea acquired the technology.
There have been many farfetched stories of trying to pin the blame on Pakistan. In May 2008, only five months after Benazir Bhutto’s brutal assassination, little-known Indian journalist Shyam Bhatia launched his 130 page book Goodbye Shahzadi, published by Roli Books of New Delhi. Claiming a 34-year-long friendship with Benazir Bhutto, Bhatia insinuates that in 2003 she agreed to a series of “searingly honest” interviews on the record with him about herself, her family, and her political life. He says that the tapes containing her “revelations” about Pakistan’s nuclear programme remained locked away and only came to light “by chance” soon after she was assassinated when he was scouring through his personal papers (p-xiii). However, on pages nine and 39, he reveals that Benazir made him switch off the tape-recorder and forbade taking notes, so “I committed (the information) to memory” (p-41). According to Bhatia’s outrageous “exposé”, Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan, acted as a “female James Bond” (p-42) carrying critical nuclear data about uranium enrichment that the North Koreans wanted on CDs in her overcoat to Pyongyang in 1993 and brought back North Korea’s missile information.
In May 2008, only five months after Benazir Bhutto’s brutal assassination, little-known Indian journalist Shyam Bhatia launched his 130 page book Goodbye Shahzadi
Bhatia indicates that Bhutto’s interest in North Korean missile technology was triggered by India’s testing of the long-range Agni missile, capable of hitting all Pakistan’s population centers, in 1989 (p-40); causing her to take action when she returned to power in 1993. Taking serious note of the blatant accusation, her political party, the PPP, had condemned Shyam Bhatia’s “despicable” accusation that its late party chairperson Benazir Bhutto had confided to him that she participated in the nuclear black market. PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar had asserted: the claim that Bhutto had “made such an acknowledgement to an obscure journalist is a tasteless and cheap exploitation of her tragic assassination.” Bhutto was the architect of the “Benazir Nuclear Doctrine” that strictly forbade exports of nuclear technology to any country. “The accusation that she spoke of her role in the nuclear black market can either come from a diseased mind and sickly soul or from someone of a lowly station in life who is desperate to get some attention,” he held. The claims that Bhatia kept in regular touch with Bhutto are “preposterous and are made only to lend credibility to his false assertions” and to “get some attention that has eluded him,” Babar had reiterated.
BJP stalwart LK Advani, who had presided over the book launch, later regretted the release of the controversial book on Shaheed Benazir Bhutto saying its contents are disturbing for anyone who knew the former prime minister of Pakistan. BJP Spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy while quoting Advani said, “I regret having attended the function. Had I read the contents of the book, I would not have gone for the book launch.”
Ten years later, now the Indians have again jumped in the fray as part of their offensive to denigrate Pakistan’s nuclear program. On one hand, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat is irresponsibly daring Pakistan to a nuclear exchange, which he knows would lead to the annihilation of both neighbours, while Indian media is trying to poke holes in Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and safety and security measures, which it well knows are superior to India’s.
Ironically, information has come to light that it was India which supported North Korean nuclear program and enabled its scientists to develop sophisticated long range Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear warheads.
Syed Zain Jaffery’s Op-Ed titled ‘The Untold Story of Indo-North Korean Secret Nuclear Connection’, published in January 17, 2018 issue of Modern Diplomacy, makes startling revelations. Quoting a UN Panel of Experts (UN PoE) report, the author reveals that numerous North Korean scientists, who are a part of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, attended courses on space science and satellite technology at an Indian research facility, the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP). This is not a fresh development as the UN report discloses that between 1995 and 2016, 30 North Koreans have undergone training at the CSSTEAP, located in Dehradun, capital of Uttarkhand, which offers advance courses on Satellite Communications, Space and Atmospheric Science, Global Navigation Satellite Systems and numerous other disciplines related to space exploration.
CSSTEAP is hosted by the government of India with the Department of Space (DoS) as the nodal agency. It is noteworthy that the UN PoE report identifies that (participation) in the space and atmospheric science and global navigation satellite systems courses is a ballistic missile-related activity prohibited under the unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006), which prohibits the provision of large-scale arms, nuclear technology and related training to North Korea.
Syed Zain Jaffery points out that in another violation of UN sanctions, North Korea illegally exported coal, iron and other commodities worth $270 million to India and other countries. The UN experts reveal that between October 2016 and May 2017, North Korea exported iron and steel products valued at $305,713 to India and others while India imported silver, copper, zinc nickel and gold from DPRK in violation of the UNSC sanction.
What should have raised alarm bells in the US is that a cyber security firm “Recorded Future”, found intense North Korean internet activity in India, where one-fifth of North Korea’s cyber attacks originate. Most cyber sleuths opine that hackers from North Korea are physically stationed in India and consistently hack US and many European sites. Despite UN sanctions, India and North Korea maintain a strong trading partnership, which enables the latter to sustain its nuclear weapons development program with impunity.
President Donald Trump, who is quick on the draw and baselessly blames Pakistan for nuclear security, should examine Indian shenanigans. Indian nuclear Scientists Surender Chaudhary, chairman of NPCIL and Dr YSR Prasad were put under sanctions under Non-proliferation Act 2000 through Public Notice No-4845, notified in the Federal Register as 69FR 58212 NOTICE on September 29, 2004 by the US State Department to bring an end to their nuclear proliferation network. However The US authorities have now found that the Prasad-Chaudhary Network is still being actively run by DRDO Chief Avinash Chander with the clear knowledge of Delhi.
Before pointing fingers at Pakistan, President Trump should examine the Indian clandestine nuclear support earlier to Iran and now North Korea.