India’s illegal uranium trade

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INCIDENTS of seizures of uranium, the highly explosive and radioactive material have become more frequent in India.

In the latest one police arrested seven people with 6.4 kilograms of uranium in their possession, marking the second time in less than a month that authorities have captured such a large quantity of uranium from unauthorized persons in the country.

Indian history is replete with incidents of uranium theft and trade but what is worrying is the silence of the international community.

The latest one should not leave any doubt that there is an organized gang or black market within India which enjoys the patronage of relevant quarters to get their hands on radioactive material and then smuggle it.

These incidents simply expose India’s poor safety and security record and raise questions on the security measures around its nuclear facilities which, at the moment, are in the control of a nationalist-religious extremist government.

Pakistan, on the other hand, being a responsible state has shown the safety and security of its nukes as there has not been any single incident of such sort.

Those who never get tired of blurting out insinuations on Pakistan’s nukes should deflect their attention towards the real threat that is emanating from India due to the vulnerability of its nuclear weapons.

For how long the world community will continue turning its back towards such incidents which pose threat to peace and security to South Asia and beyond.

The latest uranium seizure must not go unnoticed and India must be asked as to what it has and is doing to secure the nukes from falling into wrong hands.

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

Pakistan has done the right thing by demanding a thorough investigation over the latest seizure.

The question raised by our Foreign Office is genuine as to how such a sizeable quantity of uranium could become available outside any state control? We also need to raise this matter seriously and more effectively at all the international forums.