is Part 2 of our analysis on Nuclear Proliferation by Pakistan. Part
1 may be found under 'Previous Stories' on our What's Hot page.
Nuclear Proliferation by Pakistan: International Reponses
Alok Kumar Gupta*
task before the international community is to ensure that the
proliferation — horizontal as well as vertical — of nuclear
weapons is curbed. The world community is advocating that all the
countries that posses these weapons must ensure that there are no
leakages of sensitive material or knowledge from their nuclear
installations. The nuclear developments in Pakistan, thus, have the
gravest of implications not just for the South Asian region but also
for the future of global security. This is more so in the wake of
massive growth of the network of international terrorism and
incidents like 9/11 in US. Therefore, the issue for nuclear
transfers from Pakistan seems unlikely to end by raising mere
concerns. It confronts the world with a major challenge. The
‘Khan-network’ was one of the most well-organized, well-ramified
across continents, complex and relatively successful networks in the
world to smuggle nuclear weapons technology to other countries. It
operated with a factory making centrifuge components in Malaysia,
with middlemen from Sri Lanka, Germany and Holland, with hardware
shipments routed through Dubai, and meetings in places such as
Istanbul in Turkey and Casablanca in Morocco, besides Islamabad,
Pyongyang and Tehran. However, the kind of responses that have come
from the international community over the recent proliferation issue
on account of Pakistan’s exposure can be grouped into following
who wants to punish Pakistan for proliferation;
who advocate unproliferation to be forced upon Pakistan;
who want a long-term systemic course of action for strengthening
the global nuclear order to prevent recurrence;
who are concerned about its proliferation in the hands of
non-state actors and the consequent catastrophe.
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El Baradei commented in the newspaper
that the “father of Pakistan’s atom bomb was just the tip of the
iceberg in a global black market that sold nuclear technology to
Libya, Iran and North Korea. Dr. Khan was not working alone but he
had help from people in many different countries.” Mr. El Baradei
said he was not even sure that Dr. Khan was the head of the nuclear
black market, stretching across Europe and Asia and created to skirt
sanctions for the sale of sensitive technology to countries under
embargo. He also confessed of it being of number one priority to
investigate and unearth the complete picture and the network of
proliferation. The 35-member Board of Governors of IAEA was also
concerned about the possibility of other customers in the nuclear
black market. According to Mr. El Baradei the case of Malaysia, where
a company had manufactured high quality centrifuge parts for Libya,
showed nuclear know-how had proliferation to many countries across
the world. He was disturbed about the fact that many countries are
now capable of producing equipment and materials that can lead to a
nuclear weapons programme.
Dierector-General of IAEA called the ‘Khan-network’ as probably
the core of “the Wal-Mart of private sector proliferation’.
According the El Baradei, an international “nuclear black market
has emerged, driven by fantastic cleverness. Designers are drawn in
one country, and there is no clarity about the end user….Nuclear
businessmen, unscrupulous firms, and perhaps also the state bodies
Russian defence ministry, as reported in the newspapers, voiced
extreme concern over the nuclear technology transfers from Pakistan.
The defence ministry expressed its concern that the case illustrates
the absence of universal rules of the game in controlling the
production of weapons of mass destruction. It also stressed that
there is need for national Governments to bear legal responsibility
for violating the ban on WMD proliferation and UN alone can create
an effective mechanism to stop the spread of sensitive technologies.
Russian officials also emphasized on a resolution in the Security
Council to check the problem of proliferation and falling it into
the hands of terrorists.
allegations that a Malaysian company produced centrifuge components
for Libya’s nuclear weapons programme has produced first bump in
US-Malaysian relations since the Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah
Badawi, took office nearly four months ago. Malaysia’s protest
stated that the country was ‘offended’ that Mr. Bush named the
nation as a source of parts to Libya’s programme without specifying
other nations. The protest came in response to Washington’s
demands from Malaysia to tighten export control to prevent
proliferation. Malaysia went to the extent of summoning the US
Embassy charge d’affaires to protest what the Government regards
as Malaysia being singled out by the US president George Bush in
calling for global crackdown on nuclear black market.
India has wisely declined to comment on these developments and has
maintained a deafening silence. The three countries allegedly
assisted by Pakistan do not threaten India in any manner. The
reticence to comment on the subject also accords with the current
policy of refraining from the practice of trying to portray Pakistan
as an irresponsible country at any and every turn.
However, certain unofficial responses have always been there
in which politicians and bureaucrats have tried to take the offensive
that the matter is no more an internal affair of Pakistan and the
world community must take cognizance of such developments and punish
the culprit. India has tried to show that it had been vocal
about nuclear proliferation from Pakistani land in the past and had
also informed the US, but its warnings were not given due importance.
too has chosen to maintain silence as many experts have expressed
their opinion and are firm that the ‘Islamic Bomb” has its
origin in China. This is in fact widely believed that the real
source of the bomb is China as many of the missiles also have been
provided by China to Pakistan either directly or via North
Korea. The Chinese silence on the recent issue in fact
strengthens this argument.
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
delegation of the International Physicians for the Prevention of
Nuclear War (IPPNW), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its
service to mankind by highlighting the hazards of nuclear wars, met
the senior leaders of India and Pakistan in the last week of
February 2004 to impress upon them the need for both the countries
to give up their nuclear weapons programme and instead focus more on
improving health care and other basic amenities of their citizens.
The forum was led by its President Ronald McCoy. Stressing that
South Asia has been converted into a tinderbox since India and
Pakistan became nuclear powers in 1998, Mr. McCoy said that studies
had shown that even in a limited nuclear exchange against five of
the largest cities in India or Pakistan, there would be at least
three million deaths. It was clarified that both the countries must
put an end to further development and deployment of nuclear forces
and missile capabilities. They must abandon their nuclear arsenals and embrace human security.
dubious means used to acquire Pakistan’s nuclear bomb-making
capability was tolerated in the past, but in the post-Iraq world,
where a country was invaded to thwart what was touted as nuclear
proliferation on the basis of dubious intelligence, a facility that
“leaks” weapons’ technology has to be dealt with sternly.
However, Pakistani establishment can sacrifice anyone, including the
one-time national hero, Dr. Khan, in order to keep its nuclear
assets and, simultaneously, satisfy the American-led international
community that something is being done to tackle nuclear
of the Bush administration have been repeatedly making the point
that the US has been letting Gen. Musharraf off the hook on many
serious issues especially in the realm of proliferation to such
countries as Iran, Libya, and North Korea. The reason for the soft
approach is for all to see
Washington does not want to get on the
wrong side of Gen. Musharraf especially in the context of the
cooperation on the war on terror. And in the immediate case the
Republican administration has not publicly criticized Pakistan for
fear of adding to the political pressures of Gen. Musharraf.
greatest challenge confronting the global community today is to
protect the WMDs from falling into the hands of terrorist groups. As
a country, Pakistan has committed several irresponsible acts and has
gone Scot free. International relations are governed by binding
treaties and covenants. Thus, Pakistan will be required to take some
big and hard decisions in order to emerge as a reliable and
responsible nation. Saving the world from a nuclear jihad should be
the top priority today. Diplomatic
endeavor should be for constructive utilization of nuclear energy
and not nuclear war. Moreover, the world now stands warned with the
recent exposure. So long as there are nuclear weapons, and they
remain the currency of power, the danger of their proliferation
persists. There is no alternative to the complete abolition or
proliferation of these evil instruments of mass destruction.
international community or the powers of the world that matter, have
chosen to maintain a silence or have categorized it as the internal
affairs of Pakistan. Those who chose to react on the matter have
been very guarded in their responses, probably on account of the
dynamics of international interdependence.
But they have forgotten that they can play their role and
provide security to their people within their country only when
peace prevails in the world. A disturbed and irresponsible
neighborhood always adds to the threat perceptions of the others.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to discuss it on an international
forum and adopt a consistent policy which would go a long way. Such
a policy must be driven by a pragmatic approach and not by partisan
politics in the international relations. Not non-proliferation but
unproliferation of the
nuclear haves is
the solution against this evil and of course some deterrent punishment for the
violators of world peace should also be there.
Nanda, “Double Standard” Sahara
Time, February 14, 2004.
Bidwai, “Global Nuclear Bazaar” Frontline,
vol.21, no.4, February 14-27, 2004.
Khan tip of the iceberg: IAEA” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 05, 2004.
Baruah, “Scientist’s admissions expose Pakistan” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 06, 2004.
Radyuhin, “Russia expresses alarm” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 06, 2004.
Muralidhar Reddy, “Powell talks to Musharraf on probe into
Khan episode” The Hindu,
New Delhi, February 09, 2004.
Krishnaswami, “Nuclear designs originated in China: daily” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 15, 2004.
Krishnaswami, “Step up fight against spread of WMD, says
Bush” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 12, 2004.
troika to raise n-issue with Pakistan” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 17, 2004.
Baruah, “Consultations to check n-proliferation welcomed” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 13, 2004.
Pakistan must proceed with caution” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 10, 2004.
proliferation a matter of global concern” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 19, 2004.
Raja Mohan, “India determined to contribute to new nuclear
order’ The Hindu, New
Delhi, February 19, 2004.
Baruah, “N-proliferation not an internal issue: Sinha” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 07, 2004.
Srinivasan, “Pakistan’s nuclear deals” The
Hindu, New Delhi, February 13, 2004.
Raja Mohan, “Responding to Pakistan’s proliferation” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 12, 2004.
Muralidhar Reddy, N-restraint regime offer made during talks:
Pakistan” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 21, 2004.
Uday Bhaskar, “The Tale of Exposed Feathers” Sahara
Time, February 21, 2004.
Chinmayanand, “Nuclear proliferation and testing can’t be
internal affairs of any country” Sahara
Time, February 21, 2004.
Sreedhar Rao, “Lifting the veil and beyond” Sahara
Time, February 21, 2004.
V.N. Sharma, “Pak had bribed some European countries” Sahara
Time, February 21, 2004.
Raman, “Nuclear Doublespeak” Sahara
Time, February 21, 2004.
against nuclear war to talk to India, Pakistan” The Hindu, New Delhi, February 25, 2004.
Kumar Gupta is a Lecturer, at the School of Policy Science,
National Law University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.)