FO: India’s claims regarding ‘possible military dimension’ of seized item factually incorrect
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rejected India’s claims that the item reportedly seized by Indian officials from onboard a Chinese commercial vehicle bound for Pakistan is of a “possible military dimension”.
“Claims regarding the possible military dimension of the held item are factually incorrect,” said the Foreign Office (FO) in a statement on Saturday.
“We have noted the reports about inspection and seizure by the Indian authorities of an item from a Pakistan-bound commercial vessel. We have also been approached by the private company in Pakistan which had imported the item under question,” read the statement.
According to the FO, the item under question is a heat treatment furnace casing system which has several industrial applications. It is not listed on any international export control list.
“Contrary to what is being claimed, the item was correctly declared in the relevant documentation and there was no attempt to hide or conceal any information,” said the FO.
China rejects
Indian accusations
China had also rejected the Indian accusation that the seized item could be used for military purposes, saying it was actually a heat treatment furnace shell system and not a dual-use item classified under the non-proliferation and export regime.
“After seeking the information, we know that this item is actually a heat treatment furnace shell system produced by a Chinese company in China. This is not for military use and it is not a dual-use item under non-proliferation and export control,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said on Thursday during his regular briefing.
The Chinese merchant vessel Da Cui Yun had recently been carrying an industrial autoclave which was seized by Indian customs officials. Lijian remarked that the Chinese merchant ship and its owner had declared the item truthfully beforehand to the Indian authorities.
Rejecting the Indian claim that the industrial autoclave could be used for “manufacture of a very long-range ballistic missile or satellite launch rocket”, he said that, as a responsible country, China had been strictly fulfilling international non-proliferation obligations and international commitments.
According to Indian media, the ship — bearing a Hong Kong flag — was detained by customs at Gujrat’s Kandla Port while en-route to Port Qasim in Karachi, on February 3. The cargo of the Chinese ship has been offloaded and kept in a godown at the port, the report said.
Indian media reports also claim that experts at India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had ‘confirmed’ that the industrial autoclave seized from the Chinese ship could be used for “manufacturing very long-range ballistic missiles or satellite launch rockets”.