Pakistan, China rebuke India's claims of seizing weapons programme material

Mariana Baabar
Security guards stand outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Security guards stand outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. — AFP/File

  • India claims seizure of material related to weapons' programme.
  • Karachi-bound ship detained at Kandla Port on Feb 3: Indian media.
  • Seized machine was heat-treating furnace not autoclave: China.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have vehemently rebuked the allegations hurled by India regarding the seizure of a dual-use consignment with implications for Islamabad's nuclear and ballistic missiles programme by New Delhi, The News reported on Sunday.

"These reports are reflective of Indian media’s habitual misrepresentation of facts. This is a simple case of the import of a commercial lathe machine by a Karachi-based commercial entity, which supplies parts to the automobile industry in Pakistan," Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said while responding to a query related to the reports. 

Highlighting that relevant private entities are pursuing the matter against the unjustified seizure, the spokesperson further stressed that the specifications of the equipment clearly indicate its purely commercial use and that the transaction was being conducted through transparent banking channels with all relevant documentation.

Her remarks come after Indian media, citing officials, claimed that New Delhi's security agencies at Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port intercepted and seized the consignment of a Karachi-bound ship from China after it was found carrying a dual-use consignment with implications for Pakistan's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

"The ship was detained in India's Kandla Port on February 3 when the autoclave was confiscated on the basis of an intelligence tip-off," Indian media had reported quoting India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and officials, adding that the vessel was later allowed to continue to Pakistan.

Condemning India's high-handedness in the seizure of commercial goods, Baloch said: "This disruption of free trade underscores the dangers inherent in the 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."

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, according to reports, has also disputed the Indian description of the seized machine and said it was a heat-treating furnace, not an autoclave.

The official further stressed that the furnace "is by no means a piece of military equipment or a dual-use item," and therefore not subject to nonproliferation export controls.