South Asia and Beyond

Chinese Ship For Pakistan Stopped At Mumbai Port Over Suspected Nuclear Cargo

 Chinese Ship For Pakistan Stopped At Mumbai Port Over Suspected Nuclear Cargo

Security agencies in Mumbai have stopped a Pakistan bound ship from China over suspicion that it contained a dual-use consignment, which could be used for the country’s nuclear and ballistic missiles programme, PTI reported.

The custom officials halted a Malta-flagged merchant ship — CMA CGM Attila — en route to Karachi in Pakistan on January 23. The consignment included a computer numerical control machine (CNC) manufactured by an Italian copy.

CNC machines are basically controlled by a computer and produce a scale of efficiency, consistency and accuracy that are not possible manually.

According to PTI, the consignment was inspected by a team of DRDO officials who certified that the machine could be used for manufacturing missile development programme.

The port officials first alerted defence authorities who inspected the heavy cargo and reported that the cargo was suspicious.

The details of the consignment mentions the consigner as Shanghai JXE Global Logistics Co Ltd and the consignee as Pakistan Wings Pvt Ltd of Sialkot.

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However, on further investigation by security agencies, the consignment weighing 22,180 kilogrammes, was shipped by Taiyuan Mining Import and Export Co Ltd and was meant for Cosmos Engineering in Pakistan, the report said.

Cosmos Engineering is a Pakistani defence supplier and has been on the watchlist since March 12, 2022, when Indian authorities intercepted a shipment of Italian-made thermoelectric instruments.

Over the years, there has been a growing concern over Chinese support for Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes. In 2020, a Chinese ship was carrying components for Pakistan’s missile production, which as concealed as industrial equipment on a Chinese vessel bound for Pakistan.

The investigation seeks to determine if the suspected Pakistani recipients of these items are connected to the organisation responsible for Pakistan’s defence research and development.

The US sanctioned three companies in June 2023 – General Technology Limited (autoclave supplier to Pakistan), Beijing Luo Luo Technology Development, and Changzhou Utek Composite Company for its involvement in supplying missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme.

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