Military & Aerospace

Nuclear perfidy
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 20 Nov , 2013

Nuclear Plant

Big powers purported nuclear blindness is on the rise. Not that the malady is new – squints, Nelson’s Eye, blisters in the eyes, all compounded. The whole game is to permit selective nuclearization of the world based on perceived national interests including through unholy under the table collusion. The ‘nuclear club’ are the P-5 (US, Russia, UK, France, China) that are considered to be ‘nuclear weapon states’ under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

There have been at least nine unnatural deaths of Indian scientists and engineers at just BARC and Kaiga nuclear facilities in the last three years. Is it very difficult to visualize who is behind slowing down India’s nuclear excellence in this manner…

The P-5 are well known, US and China being signatory to CTBT and balance three having ratified it. Then are the declared nuclear states (India, Pakistan and North Korea) that went nuclear post the NPT having come into force in 1970.  The P-5 have problems in admitting these countries to the exclusive elitist nuclear club.  North Korea, incidentally, has the distinction of joining the NPT and then withdrawing from it in 2003. Finally are the undeclared nuclear powers like Israel and South Africa albeit South Africa developed nuclear weapons but then dismantled its nuclear arsenal and joined the NPT. It is, however, not clear whether the ‘dismantling’ included ‘destroying’ the nuclear weapons but even if it did, technically, South Africa continues to have the capability to develop nuclear weapons – same as Japan since Tsutomo Hata, Japan’s Prime Minister before demitting office in June 1994 acknowledged in the Diet (Japanese Parliament) that Japan indeed possessed the know-how to develop nuclear weapons. Most countries including Japan in any case maintain certain quantity of fissile grade Uranium under pretext of research and development. Incidentally  some 3,50,000 Japanese chemical munitions remained on Chinese soil once World War II got over, which are still being destroyed.

Israel is believed to be the sixth country after P-5 to have developed nuclear weapons. Though Israel has never conducted a nuclear test, Mordechai Vanunu, former Israeli nuclear technician told the British press in 1986 that Israel developed nuclear weapons in early 1960s in conjunction France. Estimates as to the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal vary from 75 to 400 warheads. The ambiguity whether Israel will not be the first to ‘use’ or ‘introduce’ nuclear weapons in the Middle East has continued despite the Eshkol-Comer MoU between Israel and US of March 1965. However, the message by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister at the UN General assembly on 1st October this year was explicit referring to Iran’s nuclear program as “credible military threat” and stating that if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.

Robert Parry wrote in New York Times on 2nd October 2013, “Indeed, I’ve been told that Israel’s tentative war plans against Iran include potential use of low-yield nuclear bombs to shatter Iran’s hardened sites.” The case of Israel is unique in the sense that it was the first reported case of nuclear blindness in the P-5; France helping Israel develop the nukes and the US looking the other way. Interestingly, France admits that in 1949 Israeli scientists were invited to the Saclay nuclear research facility for collaboration and sharing of nuclear knowhow especially from those with knowledge from the US Manhattan Project, latter having resulted in the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

US concerns about Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation have persisted since but it is a matter of conjecture whether an underhand understanding exists to ignore the obvious

It is not without reason that India deems both the NPT and CTBT discriminatory for treaties and conventions are hardly followed in letter and spirit. China claims she has never had an active biological warfare (BW) program but the 1993 US State Department Compliance Report stated that China continues to produce, and weaponize biological agents despite joining the biological warfare convention (BWC). Though China declared in 1997 that she had dismantled her ‘offensive’ chemical warfare (CW) program, the US maintained China has an ‘advanced’ CW program under cover of research and development. The Chinese claim of dismantling her ‘offensive’ CW program is misleading as sufficient weapons could continue to be developed and maintained under pretext of ‘defensive’ CW program. Multiple delivery systems in any case are already in place. It is no secret that Pakistan, China’s protégé, too is actively following such programs, perhaps with active help from her mentor. During the Kargil Conflict, Pakistani RPG detachments were reportedly equipped with chemical rockets and the detachments themselves were outfitted with gas masks.

Nuclear blindness or rather feigned nuclear blindness has multiplied unabashedly, members of P-5 themselves playing proliferators both advertently and inadvertently. The Chinese dragon in her strategic ambitions nuclearized both her talons; Pakistan and North Korea. In 1986, Chinese scientists began assisting Pakistan with the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium. China not only transferred Tritium gas to Pakistan for 10 nuclear weapons but also provided nuclear technology and co-opted Pakistani scientists in a nuclear test at its Lop Nor test site in 1989. The most significant proliferation activity involved China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) providing 5,000 specially designed ring magnets to Pakistan.

Ironically, the US abetted this proliferation even when Chinese privately admitted to such activity. US decision not to impose sanctions was under insistence by China that CNEIC had arranged the sale without the knowledge or consent of the central government (an impossibility without approval of the CCP) and that the ring magnets were not magnetized, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Trigger List only covers ring magnets magnetized at a specific tolerance – so easy to fool the world and magnetize the ring magnets to required level once transported to Pakistan, assisted by Chinese nuclear knowhow and scientists. All this even despite US concluding that prior to 1992, China had assisted Pakistan in developing nuclear explosives including US intelligence having reported in 1983 that China had transferred a complete nuclear weapon design to Pakistan, along with enough weapons-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons.

Though China declared in 1997 that she had dismantled her ‘offensive’ chemical warfare (CW) program, the US maintained China has an ‘advanced’ CW program under cover of research and development.

The Chinese farce continued with reports in 1996 of Chinese selling a special industrial furnace and high-technology diagnostic equipment to a Pakistani nuclear facility at Khushab that can help develop nuclear weapons. This was reinforced by the June 1997 CIA report titled ‘The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions–July-December 1996’  that China “was the primary source of nuclear-related equipment and technology to Pakistan” during the second half of 1996. US concerns about Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation have persisted since but it is a matter of conjecture whether an underhand understanding exists to ignore the obvious. In a significant indictment, Thomas Reed, former US Air Force Secretary (himself having designed two nuclear devices) in his book ‘The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation’ pointedly states that China has intentionally proliferated nuclear technology to risky regimes, particularly Pakistan.

More significantly, in his interview with US News, Reed explained that China under Deng Xiaoping, decided to proliferate nuclear technology to communists and Muslims in the third world based on the strategy that if the West started getting nuked by Muslim terrorists or another communist country without Chinese fingerprints, it would be good for China. As for Pakistan, India was China’s enemy and Pakistan was India’s enemy. Chinese trained Pakistani scientists and gave them the design of the CHIC-4 device, which was a weapon that was easy to build a model for export. There is evidence that AQ Khan used Chinese designs in his nuclear designs. Notes from his lectures later turned up in Libya. China dealt with Saudis, North Koreans, and the Algerians similarly. China tested Pakistan’s first bomb for her in 1990. What reinforces Chinese lies is that while China raised a host of objections to exposures in Reed’s book, all were withdrawn subsequent to discussion with Chinese scientists, as claimed by Reed.

As for North Korea, not only has China actively assisted the formers nuclear program, she apparently wants North Korea to fire at least one nuclear weapon against another country (US, Japan, South Korea?) just to displace the US claim of being the sole country to have nuked another country. On February 11, 2013, the US Geological Survey GS detected a magnitude 5.1 seismic disturbance, reported to be the third underground nuclear test of North Korea, South Korea and Germany estimating the yield at 6-9 kilotons and 40 kilotons respectively. The fact is that China will not permit effective UN sanctions against North Korea for this very reason though the front of an excuse that North Korea would starve without Chinese assistance is being played upon. Had the UN sanctions been permitted to be effective, the population in North Korea would rise and overthrow the diabolical dynasty, paving the way for democracy and unification of the two Koreas. But that does not suit Chinese interests. China wants a unified Korea that is communist and under Chinese tutelage that throws the US forces out of the Korean Peninsula.

Stuxnet attack developed jointly by US and Israel set the Iranian nuclear program back by months, if not years is no secret, as are the periodic reports of Iranian nuclear scientists being bumped off in cold blood by the CIA.

While Reed alleged Chinese have in the past assisted Saudi Arabia and Algeria on the nuclear front, in addition to Pakistan and North Korea, the latest proliferation activity appears to be centred on boosting the Saudi Arabian nuclear program through Pakistan; China virtually gave the nuclear bomb to Pakistan and Pakistan is ready to do the same to Saudi Arabia. Recent BBC disclosure reveals that Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects and she could obtain atomic bombs at will. According to a senior NATO official, intelligence reporting indicated that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had already warned the US special envoy in 2009 that if Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, Saudi Arabia will get nuclear weapons.

It may be noted that China had sold the nuclear capable Silkworm Missiles to Saudi Arabia way back in the 1980s. Would China not love a nuclear fight in the Middle East with US getting involved and China the fence sitter? How this would suit US interests is a matter of debate but would this not be the ultimate Shia-Sunni War that has already been initiated by the West. On balance perhaps both US and China will remain comfortable till a Muslim radical, if not a radical country / country’s proxy nukes US / Chinese mainland. The fact that nothing was done to curb AQ Khan and Co despite obvious knowledge of proliferation and that nothing is being done even now to curb the exponential increase in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and possible sale to Saudi Arabia confirms this.

The world needs to examine this business of the P-5 conspiring to decide who should go nuclear and who should not. There is little doubt that the focus of western attention in the Middle East is on Iran and its nuclear program even if the Russian reports of gas attack in Syria having been orchestrated by the US through a chemical weapon supplied by the British mercenary set up are  discounted. The US-Saudi Arabia contrived war is obviously aimed at Iran; oil, nukes et all. The fact that Stuxnet attack developed jointly by US and Israel set the Iranian nuclear program back by months, if not years is no secret, as are the periodic reports of Iranian nuclear scientists being bumped off in cold blood by the CIA.

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But what should be of serious concern to India’s hierarchy despite the pathological fixation with forthcoming elections is the periodicity and number of Indian scientists dying of unnatural causes. In this context, Madahv Nalapat’s article ‘PMO unconcerned about scientists deaths’ in The Sunday Guardian dated 26th October 2013 can hardly be ignored; a revealing write up that scientists working in BARC have been particularly liable to ‘suicides’ (purported?) and murders, latest casualties being KK Josh and Abhish Shivam working with India’s indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant whose bodies were discovered on 7th October 2013 near the railway tracks at Penduruthy near Vishakapatnam Naval Yard, poisoned and bodies placed on the tracks. Reportedly, there have been at least nine unnatural deaths of Indian scientists and engineers at just BARC and Kaiga nuclear facilities in the last three years. Is it very difficult to visualize who is behind slowing down India’s nuclear excellence in this manner while proliferators are allowed to run amuck in our neighbourhood? Can’t we get our guard up?

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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