Home Contact Us
Search :
   

Nuclear - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#1300, 11 February 2004
 
Halting the Nuclear Trade
Reshmi Kazi
Research Officer, IPCS
 

The US interception, in early October 2003, of a German-registered ship headed for Libya through the Suez Canal and carrying thousands of parts of uranium centrifuges, demonstrated the mushrooming of the illegal nuclear trade. The intercepted shipment came from Dubai, a place of some significance to the clandestine world of nuclear deals, as demonstrated by the exploits of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the now infamous architect of Pakistan’s atomic programme. Though, international inspectors are still investigating where Libya’s components came from, a web of trails points to significant interconnections between Pakistan’s atomic programme and Libya’s.

The Tripoli-Islamabad equation can be traced to the 1970s. Spurned by China, in its efforts to buy nuclear weapons, Libya turned to Pakistan. In 1973, when Pakistan had just started its nuclear weapons programme, Libya signed a deal to help finance Islamabad’s atomic efforts. In February 1974, during the Islamic Summit held in Lahore, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and President Z. A. Bhutto reached a formal agreement. According to Leonard S. Spector of the Montery Institute of International Studies’ Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Libya offered to finance Pakistan’s entire atomic programme in return for information to process nuclear fuel. From 1978 to 1980, Libya supplied staggering sums of financial aid and uranium ore from Niger to Pakistan. Qaddafi reportedly provided nearly a billion dollars to Bhutto in exchange for missile technology as mentioned by Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney in their book The Islamic Bomb.

Despite these attempts, Libya appears to have made little progress in developing its nuclear programme beyond a rudimentary level. Nevertheless, Libya’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities through clandestine transfers, demonstrate the potential and possibilities of this illegal trade. Its efforts to acquire nuclear devices were coupled with an aggressive strategy to acquire ballistic missiles. These efforts, if successful may have had cataclysmic consequences for the entire Middle East and the world.

Libya has now relinquished the pursuit of nuclear weapons and opened its WMD facilities to inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This has facilitated in exposing a fascinating network of clandestine trade in nuclear material and technology, many of which lead directly to Pakistan. It is important to remember that in the aftermath of the Pokhran I test in 1974, Libya had offered to India substantial sums of money, oil and other commerce in exchange for nuclear weapon technology. India refused this proposition firmly and politely.

Pakistan was apparently the biggest proliferator of atomic technology aiding non-nuclear weapon states. The unmistakable Pakistani technological signature recently found on uranium-enrichment centrifuges in Iran, Libya and North Korea firmly links the official complicity of Islamabad in this game of deadly proliferation.

Recent Pakistani disclosures reveal a complex network of international black market on atomic technology. Operating via Dubai and masterminded by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, it peddled hardware, blueprints and nuclear weapon designs to all and sundry, but mainly to the Islamic block. It assisted countries to become nuclear weapon states in a short span of time. Libya’s quest for atomic weapons was aided by a sophisticated nuclear black market that provided technical advice and sensitive nuclear components. The same network also is believed to have assisted Iran in its pursuit of nuclear weapon technology.

The present state of Pakistan’s indigenous industrial development will continue to demand foreign black market imports for a prolonged period in order to sustain its nuclear arsenal. Recent reports stated 800 spark gaps required for nuclear triggers purchased in the US by a South African were shipped to Pakistan via Dubai. Pakistan will relentlessly exploit the European nuclear black market network to meet its requirements and sustain its nuclear arsenal indefinitely. To this extent, Islamabad will always attempt to disseminate tacit nuclear information to countries in exchange for financial aid.

President General Musharraf has categorically denied the involvement of the Pakistani government in the recent nuclear leaks. Though the Pakistani Government has blamed the present nuclear crisis on A. Q. Khan and certain other greedy scientists, it is hard to accept that such sensitive nuclear documents were leaked without the connivance of the establishment. What is more troubling is Musharraf’s claim that he was unaware of the military’s involvement in the nuke-for-missiles swap with North Korea in 2002. If that be so, Pakistan characterizes an unstable situation posing inherent nuclear dangers. There lies the dangerous possibility of terrorists acquiring ‘dirty’ bombs and other radioactive materials for nuclear blackmail. The perils of continued leakage and seizure of nuclear assets by Islamic fundamentalists during a political turmoil appear starkly real.

Pakistan’s proliferation record raises serious concerns for the international community. If its links are exposed to Libya, Iran and North Korea today, can it be that it has not also simultaneously been transmitted to other countries as well?

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistanís Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Stronger Democratic Values for a Better Tomorrow
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
India-Pakistan: Working Boundaries and Lines of Uncontrolled Fire
Of Inquilab and the Inquilabis
 
Dateline Kabul
Mariam Safi
Af-Pak: A Fresh Start
Can Afghanistan Become a "Perfect Place?"
Afghanistan: Political Crises After the Presidential Run-off
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Abeís Successful Visit to Dhaka: Two Political Challenges

Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticismís Sake?
Changing Global Balance of Power: Obamaís Response
East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
Abe-Xinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
South Korea's Foreign Policy: More Rhetoric, Less Content?
India in East Asia: Modiís Three Summit Meets

Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
The Future of SAARC is Now
China in Nepal: Increasing Connectivity Via Railways
India-Nepal Hydroelectricity Deal: Making it Count
Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
Modi in Myanmar: From ĎLook Eastí to ĎAct Eastí
The ASEAN's Centrality in the Indo-Pacific Region
Myanmar's Political Transition: Challenges of the 2015 Election

Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir
Pakistan: Why is Army against Nawaz Sharif?
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations
Maritime Terrorism: Karachi as a Staging Point

Middle Kingdom
Srikanth Kondapalli
China and Japan: Will the Twain Never Meet?
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Building a Closer Developmental Partnership
Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age

Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls
Naxalites and the Might of a Fragile Revolution
Six Thousand Plus Killed: The Naxal Ideology of Violence
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obamaís New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
War against the Islamic State: Political and Military Responses from the Region
The Islamic State: No Country for the Old World Order
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile
Uranium and Nuclear Power: Three Indian Stories

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Strategic Estrangement: An Odd Bedfellow to Economic Engagement
The Islamic State Caliphate: A Mirage of Resurrection
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?
Modiís US Visit: So Much Promise, Such Little Outcome

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
Regional Economic Architecture: Is India Ready?
Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India-China: Securitising Water

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Bio-terror: Grave Implications of Synthetic Biology

Nuclear Forensics: A Tool for Deterring Terrorists?

AQ Khan and Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The Berman Letter: Time for Creative Diplomacy

NSG Waiver - A Diplomatic Gesture

Reliable Replacement Warheads: A Dangerous Expansion

Nuclear Tests: India Cannot Foreclose the Option

The North Korean Accord: A Step Towards Nuclear Disarmament

India-Russia Nuclear Cooperation: A Balance of Interests

Japan's Support for the Indo-US Nuclear Deal: A Step Towards a Safer World

Indo-US Nuclear Deal: A New Strategic Partnership

North Korea Nuclear Accord: A Game Of Diplomacy

India: A Responsible Nuclear Power

North Korea and China's Predicaments

Proliferation Security Initiative and India

Reducing Nuclear Danger

India's Naval Aspirations

Shaping Nuclear Confidence

Shaheen-II Test: Ramifications for India

Nuclear Impasse in the Korean Peninsula

Pakistanís Nuclear Linkages with Iran

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006
 2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
 1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com