|By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army
China, the self-proclaimed Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) policeman, has been caught, what may be described as with her pants down, violating NSG rules herself. China blocked India’s entry into NSG on grounds that India was not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), continues to hail NPT as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation regime, has herself been caught violating the rules of NSG by transferring nuclear reactors to Pakistan – a country which is not under the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.
The Arms Control Association, a leading authority on nuclear weapons and disarmament, in its latest report, ‘Assessing Progress on Nonproliferation and Disarmament updated report card 2013–2016,’ assessing progress on non-proliferation says, “Despite progress on its export controls China continues to supply Pakistan with nuclear power reactors, despite objections that the sale of the reactors did not receive a consensus exemption from the NSG. Pakistan, which is neither an NPT member nor under full-scope IAEA safeguards, is therefore ineligible to receive such assistance under NSG rules.”
The report further says that China continues to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan and lacks comprehensive lists for controlling the transfers of ballistic missile materials and technologies, adding, “Beijing’s decision to continue selling nuclear reactors to Pakistan in contravention of the NSG and its sales of missile technologies to countries of concern earns China a failing grade”. Ironically, China had blocked India’s NSG bid on grounds that participation of a non-NPT signatory in the group will weaken the international non-proliferation regime. This once again conclusively proves that China is a cheat and a bully. Prior to the NSG meet in Seoul, Beijing orchestrated numerous ambiguous statements from the state-controlled media grouping Pakistan with India in saying both must join NPT.
The most significant proliferation activity involved China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) providing 5,000 specially designed ring magnets to Pakistan.
China was actually highly strung when India was admitted to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) while China was not. Post India’s admission into MTCR, a senior US official had stated that it [MTCR] “permits India to continue to advance its non-proliferation leadership in the world and contribute to that regime, to limit missile proliferation in the world”. This obviously raised the hackles of China more especially when she is eyeing India getting closer to the US little realising her own actions in concert with Pakistan are principally responsible for many developments in recent times. China also wanted to snub the US which was supporting India’s inclusion into NSG. Therefore China actively lobbied before the meeting to make sure India was denied the membership, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussing the issue with President Xi Jinping and China signaling that it will play constructive role on the issue.
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.
In his book The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation, Thomas Reed, former US Air Force Secretary, pointedly states that China has intentionally proliferated nuclear technology to risky regimes, particularly Pakistan. In his interview with US News, Reed explained that China under Deng Xiaoping, decided to proliferate nuclear technology to communists and radical muslims in the third world based on the strategy that if the West started getting nuked by radical muslim terrorists or another communist country without Chinese fingerprints, it would be good for China. China 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 A.Q. 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 Reed pointing out facts were based on discussions with Chinese scientists.
As for North Korea, not only has China actively assisted the former’s nuclear programme, 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. As per Israeli defence forces, Pakistan now wants to take its land-based VLS nuclear deterrent to sea on stabilised surface ships and underwater in Chinese submarines. China of course will gleefully oblige as it helps keep India boxed in further.
The views expressed herein are the personal views of the author.