Another uranium theft in India

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INDIAN security forces have arrested two men with over seven kilogram of uranium, a highly explosive and radio active material.

According to Indian media, accused had even tested the uranium at a private lab for purity.

It is not the first instance as theft of highly sensitive material especially uranium has frequently been happening in India over last many decades.

In February 2008 police seized four kilogram of uranium in Supaul district along the Indo-Nepal border.

Next year, three people were arrested who were in illegal possession of five kilogram of depleted uranium.

In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material was stolen from a fortified research facility in eastern India.

Just five years ago, around nine kilogram of radioactive uranium was seized from two persons in Thane.

The fact of matter is that there is no end to this list of uranium theft as well as of other nuclear explosive materials in India.

Apart from repeated accidents at nuclear power plants, deaths of Indian nuclear scientists in mysterious conditions should also be a matter of concern.

In fact, one can legitimately wonder if there is a nuclear material mafia present in India?
However, regrettable part is that world community out of political and economic expediency has so far only turned its back to these highly serious incidents.

Several of these clearly indicate utter failure of Indian nuclear security agencies and vulnerability of nuclear explosive materials to theft.

The latest theft of uranium should not go unnoticed. The potential effects of a theft of uranium and other such material go beyond national borders especially in South Asia. Security of nuclear arsenals should be the top priority for all countries.

As stated by our foreign office, there is a need for thorough investigation into the uranium theft as to how much sizeable quantity of uranium could become available outside any state control and identify gaps that made this possible.

Given internal situation in India where intolerance and extremism is on the rise and Covid-19 is ravaging, India’s ambitious nuclear plans without proper safeguards will only add to vulnerability and pose a serious risk to the whole region.

Instead of raising fingers on Pakistan’s safe and secure nuclear programme, it is better for international community to deflect its attention towards real danger i.e. India.