An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 26 May 2002

Pakistan has a fairly successful missile programme and the North Korean angle needs attention. Surely India's intelligence agencies have the knowledge, as two years ago a North Korean ship was intercepted near Kandla –– by a quirk of fate and some good work by the Indian Coast Guard –– with equipment for Pakistan's missile programme. It was for good reasons that President Bush had designated North Korea as one of the "axis of evil" nations.

The contents of the article below put up by us are by a noted security affairs expert –– B Raman who was the No 2 in RAW and who should know. The CONTINUING clandestine relationship between North Korea and one of America's "frontline allies" in the fight against terrorism
should be a matter of great concern to us In India and the American people. This is more so since Prez Musharraf has announced that his missile tests were successful.

London is having a whale of a time discussing the India–Pakistan tensions and it was totally surprising that PM Vajpayee announced that India would wait two months before going to war.

Donald Rumsfeld when asked if USA would go to war with Iraq in the future said it would be foolish for any one to predict such actions or disclose plans. IDC was convinced there was no immediate threat of war but the MILITARY STAFF in UK has been swift and calculated that if India and Pakistan get into a Nuclear war, a predicted two million deaths would occur.

We can bluntly state that there is aggressive hate for Muslims here in Europe and now this is beginning to take effect for Indians too because of the war cries –– and let’s be honest no one will shed a tear if India and Pakistan self destruct.

Europe and UK are clear that India must talk to Pakistan, USA, Russia, China and Japan and tell them what it wants as the bottom line from Pakistan and they will try to get it.

But we want to do it bilaterally and so be it. We had said earlier that India's dream will never be realised till Kashmir is resolved.

If the Chairman Chiefs of Staff and COAS Gen Padmanabhan has advised and is confident of war then so be it.


By B. Raman

While the Government of Pakistan has, since 1975, allowed at least a façade of democracy and autonomy to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), it has kept the NA (Northern Areas--Gilgit and Baltistan) under tight federal control, imposing an iron curtain in the area. The reasons are its strategic location adjoining China and the clandestine use of the Karakoram Highway for the movement of Chinese nuclear material and missiles.

Drawing attention to this in a paper titled "The Northern Areas: Behind Pakistan's Iron Curtain" published in the September 1996 issue of the "Strategic Analysis", the monthly journal of the Institute of Defence Studies And Analysis, New Delhi, this writer had said: "The Karakoram Highway is also used for the movement to Pakistan of Chinese nuclear and military equipment like the M-11 missiles, equipment for the nuclear power
station being constructed with Chinese assistance etc. The two countries do not transport such sensitive equipment by sea to avoid detection by the USA."

This has now been corroborated by the "Washington Times" story of August 6, 2001, regarding the movement of Chinese missiles to Pakistan by trucks. "The Hindu" of Chennai (August 7) has quoted the "Washington Times" as follows: "American satellite monitoring of the area detected a shipment on May 1 on the China-Pakistan border. By US intelligence estimates, it was one of the 12 consignments sent by ship and truck since the beginning of the year.

In the past, Pakistan had been receiving its clandestine missile consignments from North Korea by sea. Since the appointment of Mr. Richard Armitage as Deputy Secretary of State in the current Bush Administration, Pakistan and North Korea have been worried because in a paper on US policy options towards North Korea submitted to the US House of Representatives on March 4,1999, Mr. Armitage had, inter alia, recommended as follows: "Should diplomacy fail, the United States would have to consider two alternative
courses, neither of which is attractive. One is to live with and deter a nuclear North Korea armed with delivery systems, with all its implications for the region. The other is pre-emption, with the attendant uncertainties. 

Strengthened deterrence and containment. This would involve a more ready and robust posture, including a willingness to interdict North Korean missile exports on the high seas. Our posture in the wake of a failure of diplomacy would position the United States and its allies to enforce 'red lines.

' Pre-emption. We recognize the dangers and difficulties associated with this option. To be considered, any such initiative must be based on precise knowledge of facilities, assessment of probable success, and clear understanding with our allies of the risks.

It is understood that during the visit of the Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Zhu Rongji, to Pakistan in May,2001, Islamabad had taken up with China the question of allowing future missile consignments from North Korea to come to Pakistan by road via China and the Northern Areas.

Extracts from an article dated August 7, 2001, titled "GILGIT & BALTISTAN, CHINA & NORTH KOREA" by this writer are available at

The firing on May 25, 2002, of a North Korean made Nodong (I ?) missile, baptised Ghauri by Pakistan in 1998 to hoodwink its own population and the international community that the missile was the result of research and development by its own scientists, should be a matter of greater concern to the Bush Administration in the US and Japan than to India because it provides one more piece of evidence, if it was needed, of the nexus between Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment and the nuclear-missile establishment of North Korea, which has been placed by President Bush in what he described in his State of the Union Message of January,2002, as 'the axis of evil.'

This nexus was first established during the second tenure of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto as the Prime Minister (!993-96) when she made a clandestine visit to Pyongyang and subsequently nursed by the Nawaz Sharif Government and the Musharraf regime. Pakistan was initially paying for the missiles and spare parts partly in kind ( Pakistani, US and Australian wheat to meet North Korea's acute food shortage in the 1990s) and partly through supply of nuclear technology to help North Korea in the development of its own military nuclear capability.

During the last three or four years, Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineers have been working in North Korea and North Korean missile experts in Pakistan. Since September, 2001, the increased and still increasing cash flow into Pakistan from the USA, the European Union and Japan has enabled the military regime to pay for the North Korean missiles and related technology in hard currency.

Since the beginning of this year, there has been a large-scale movement of military goods under military escort to Pakistan from China along the Karakoram Highway. While most of these containers were said to contain spare parts and replacements for the Chinese arms and ammunition and aircraft in Pakistan's arsenal, one should not rule out the possibility that the Chinese might have accepted the Pakistani request for the movement of the missile-related goods from North Korea by train and road across China and then along the Karakoram Highway.

This carefully-nursed co-operation between North Korea and Pakistan could not only help North Korea to develop a nuclear capability which could pose a threat to the USA and Japan, but could also make these missiles in Pakistan a tempting target for acquisition for the dregs of the present Afghan war from the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Pakistani jehadi organisations, which have made Pakistan the new staging ground for their anti-US and anti-West activities.
What Pakistan carried out on the morning of May 25, 2002, was not a test firing of a missile under development through indigenous efforts as projected by Musharraf, but the demonstration firing of a ready-to-fire missile acquired clandestinely from Bush's 'axis of evil.' It was meant as a demonstration of Pakistan's self-proclaimed capability to the Pakistani public as well as to its Armed Forces in order to keep up their morale at a time when Pakistan has come under great pressure from the international community to stop using terrorism as a weapon against India.

It was also meant to refurbish Musharraf's image in the eyes of his people at a time when his recent referendum stands discredited due to large-scale rigging, large sections of the political class have been questioning the wisdom of his continuing in power at a time of national crisis and there have been growing signs of disquiet in the military over his erratic ways of functioning and over his hugging desperately the post of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in the hope of thereby pre-empting any threat to him from inside the Armed Forces.

He received a jolt during the recent referendum when more than 20 per cent of the votes cast  in the military barracks were reportedly against him whereas only about three per cent of the civilian votes went against him. This would show that the support to him in the military was not as overwhelming as he liked to think. His colleagues and subordinates might not express their opposition to him in public, but did not hesitate to do so when they had an opportunity of doing so anonymously during the referendum.

Musharraf is hoping that his action in carrying out the missile firing would dilute, if not remove, the reservations in their minds about him and about his determination to resist outside pressure vis-a-vis India.

While India should take note of the firing, there is no reason to be concerned. India was already aware of Musharraf's nexus with the 'axis of evil' and of Pakistan's possession of the North Korean missiles under the camouflage of indigenous missiles and one can be certain that this must have been factored into our thinking and planning.

This was essentially an exercise of whistling in the dark by Musharraf. What is important is that India should highlight to the US, Japan and other countries the nuclear-missile nexus between Pakistan and North Korea and the threat that this could pose to them and to international peace and security. (25 Feb 02)

(The writer is Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, India)

Back to Top

Disclaimer   Copyright