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India stops Pak-bound ship from China carrying ‘military-grade items’

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NEW DELHI: Indian security agencies stopped a Pakistan-bound ship from China at Mumbai’s

Nhava Sheva

port over suspicions that it contained ‘dual-use consignment’ that could be used by Islamabad in its nuclear and ballistics missile programme.
Based on an intelligence input, the customs officials halted a Malta-flagged merchant ship, CMA CGM

Attila

, en route to Karachi on January 23 at the port and inspected the consignment which included a Computer Numerical control machine by an Italian company.

The consignment was also inspected by a team of DRDO which certified that the CNC machine could be used in manufacturing critical parts for

Pakistan

‘s missile development programme.
The officials said there have been concerns that Pakistan might be utilising China as a conduit to acquire restricted items from Europe and the US, masking identities to evade detection.

According to documents such as bills of loading and other details of the consignment, the consigner was mentioned as “Shanghai JXE Global Logistics Co Ltd” and consignee was “Pakistan Wings Pvt Ltd” of Sialkot.

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However, a deeper investigation by the security agencies indicated that the consignment, weighing 22,180 kilogrammes, was shipped by Taiyuan Mining Import and Export Co Ltd and was meant for Cosmos Engineering in Pakistan, the officials said.

The port officials, with specific intelligence, had alerted the Indian defence authorities who inspected the heavy cargo and reported their suspicions, after which the consignment was seized, the officials said, adding that the seizure falls under the prevention of possible proliferation by Pakistan and China.
CNC machines are basically controlled by a computer and produce a scale of efficiency, consistency and accuracy not possible manually. Since 1996, CNC machines have been included in the Wassenaar Arrangement — an international arms control regime aimed at stopping the proliferation of equipment with both civilian and military uses. India is among the 42 member countries that exchange information on transfers of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.

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This is not the first instance when Indian port officials have seized such dual-use military-grade items being shipped from China to Pakistan. In February 2020, China was supplying autoclave to Pakistan under the cover of “industrial dryer”.
Cosmos Engineering, a Pakistani defence supplier, has also been on a watchlist since March 12, 2022, when Indian authorities intercepted a shipment of Italian-made thermoelectric instruments, once again at the Nhava Sheva port.
In June 2023, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) sanctioned three Chinese companies — General Technology Limited (autoclave supplier to Pakistan), Beijing

Luo Luo Technology Development

, and Changzhou Utek Composite Company for its involvement in supplying missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme.

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