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India seizes Karachi-bound ship carrying nuclear cargo

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  • Ship to Karachi seized by India was carrying commercial goods, claims Pakistan
  • DRDO examined consignment, confirmed potential use in Pakistan’s nuclear programme
  • Pakistan calls it violation of international norms

MUMBAI : The Karachi-bound ship seized by Indian agencies in Mumbai was “carrying commercial” goods and not machines for a nuclear programme, Pakistan claimed on Sunday, a day after Indian officials revealed details of the seizure. The Pakistan Foreign Office stated that the reports of the seizure were marked by “misrepresentation of facts”.

The Pakistan-bound ship from China, CMA CGM Attila, was stopped at Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva Port on January 23. Officials told on Saturday that a team of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) examined the consignment, which included a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, and confirmed its potential use in Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

“This is a simple case of import of a commercial lathe machine by a Karachi-based commercial entity which supplies parts to the automobile industry in Pakistan. Specifications of the equipment clearly indicate its purely commercial use. The transaction was being conducted through transparent banking channels with all the relevant documentation,” the statement said.

Calling it an “unjustified seizure”, the Pakistan officials said that “relevant private entities are pursuing the matter” and asserted that it as a “violation of international norms”.

“Pakistan condemns India’s high-handedness in seizure of commercial goods. This disruption of free trade underscores the dangers inherent in arbitrary assumption of policing roles by states with dubious credentials. Such acts also highlight the growing impunity of certain states in violating international norms and taking arbitrary measures in violation of international law,” the statement by the Pakistan Foreign Office further reads.

The transportation of CNC machine, which was found by the Indian authorities, is governed by the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international agreement aiming to control the spread of items with both civilian and military uses, with India actively involved. North Korea used a CNC machine in its nuclear programme.

Investigations revealed discrepancies in shipping details, suggesting attempts to hide the true recipients, officials added. Further investigation is underway.

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