Turkey’s Role In China Pakistan Nuclear Proliferation

After GreatGameIndia broke the story on February 12, 2020, Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation activities once again are in the news following the detention of a ship (Da Cui Yun) on the 3rd February at the Kangla port bearing a Hong Kong flag and bound for Port Qasim in Karachi for wrongly declaring autoclave, which can be used in the launch process of ballistic missiles, as an industrial dryer.

Autoclave is critical for producing silica sheets under controlled pressure for the solid fuel to be used in the ballistic missiles. Not only the item was wrongly declared but more importantly, the ship belonged to a Chinese company COSCO, which was earlier sanctioned by the US. Significantly, the destination of the ship was Port Qasim in Karachi, where the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), responsible for Pakistan ballistic missile programme, is based. These point to the continuing Pak-China proliferation activities with impunity.

Turkey's-Role-in-China-Pakistan-Nuclear-Proliferation
Turkey’s Role In China Pakistan Nuclear Proliferation

This is not the first time that a Pak bound ship was detected carrying missile material and wrongly declaring them to avoid detection. During the Kargil conflict, the North Korean ship Ku Wol San was seized at the Kangla port. This ship was carrying missile components, metal casings and Scud missile manuals to Pakistan, which were declared as the water purifying equipment.

The larger issue is not only the continuance of the Sino-Pak proliferation activities but which other countries in the region are involved in the nefarious network as that can have adverse impact on India’s security environment. The linkages with Libya, Iran and North Korea are well known. Experts assess that it could be supplying nuclear and missile related material to Turkey as well.

A study by the London based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies had brought out that A Q Khan network was assisted by the Turkish companies, which imported nuclear related material from Europe, manufactured centrifuge parts and shipped them to Pakistan and other countries. It is strongly believed that Turkey could be possessing a number of centrifuges, with the assistance from Pakistan.

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When last year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan President of Turkey spoke in favour of producing nuclear weapons at a party convention, the US media pointed out the possibility of Turkey having a nuclear bomb project. The Pak-Turkey clandestine collaboration in nuclear and missile fields appears to be growing very fast. The role appears to have been reversed. While earlier Turkish companies were importing material from Europe and providing them to Pakistan, now Pak is illegally importing nuclear related material from China for Turkey.

India needs to carefully watch the implications of this development. Turkey of late has been taking up the Kashmir issue on behalf of Pakistan. Last year, the Turkish President raised the Kashmir issue at the UNGA and on the 15th February this year while addressing the Pak Parliament, he again raked up the issue and vowed that Ankara would support Pakistan’s stand.

Declaring that ‘today the issue of Kashmir is as close to Turkey as it is to Pakistan’, he assured his country’s unflinching support on this issue as also on making joint efforts to take out of the grey list of the FATF. He, in his address to Pak parliament, likened the “struggle” of the Kashmiris with that of his country in the World War I (in the battle of Gallipoli) against the foreign domination. While this was highly illogical, it reflected the growing closeness between the two countries.

The Turkish President’s statements against India recently have become shriller and louder which could be because of the Turkish increasing dependence on Pakistan for nuclear related material. This linkage needs to be brought to the notice of the International Community.

S D Pradhan for Times of India blog. Pradhan has served as chairman of India’s Joint Intelligence Committee. He has also been the country’s deputy national security adviser. He was chairman of the Task Force on Intelligence Mechanism (2008-2010), which was constituted to review the functioning of the intelligence agencies. He has taught at the departments of defence studies and history at the Punjabi University, Patiala. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Illinois, US, in the department of arms control and disarmament studies. The ministry of defence had utilized his services for the preparation of official accounts of the 1971 war and the counterinsurgency operations in the northeast. In the JIC/National Security Council secretariat, he was closely involved with the preparation of the reports of the Kargil Review Committee and the Group of Ministers on national security as also with the implementation of their recommendations. His publications include two books and several articles.

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