Pakistan claims Chinese ship which India seized was carrying ‘commercial goods’, not nuclear weapons

A container onboard a Karachi-bound ship from China stopped at Mumbai
Image Source : PTI A container onboard a Karachi-bound ship from China stopped at Mumbai

Islamabad: A day after Indian officials thwarted a Chinese ship which was en route to deliver what the investigating agency claimed “machines for Pakistan nuclear programme”, Islamabad has rejected the claims and dubbed the action as an “unjustified seizure”.

Earlier on Saturday, news agency PTI reported that Indian authorities had seized the Malta-flagged merchant vessel, CMA CGM Attila, near Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port, on January 23. The officials told the news agency that they had received intelligence inputs that the vessel which originated from China and was destined for Pakistan, was transporting “machines and tools” which could assist Pakistan in building its nuclear program. The officials said that the seizure fell under the “prevention of possible proliferation by Pakistan and China”.

Pakistan claims India’s action violation of trade norms

Responding to the claims, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the item in question was “a commercial lathe machine”. She maintained that the intended recipient of the seized machinery has been identified as Cosmos Engineering, a Karachi-based firm that manufactures automobile parts and home appliances. 

“Pakistan condemns India’s high-handedness in seizure of commercial goods. This disruption of free trade underscores the dangers inherent in the arbitrary assumption of policing roles by states with dubious credentials,” Baloch said in a statement released.

However, Indian agencies said that they seized the documents such as the bill of lading and other consignment details. According to the document, the consigner was Shanghai JXE Global Logistics Co Ltd and weighed 22,180 kilograms.

The vessel was carrying “commercial goods”: Pakistan 

“This is a simple case of import of a commercial lathe machine by a Karachi-based commercial entity, which supplies parts to the automobile industry in Pakistan,” Baloch elaborated. “Speci­fications of the equipment clearly indicate its purely commercial use. The transaction was being conducted through transparent banking channels with all the relevant documentation.” “Such acts also highlight the growing impunity of certain states in violating international norms and taking arbitrary measures in violation of international law,” she added.

It is worth mentioning that Cosmos Engineering, a Pakistani defence supplier, has been on a watchlist since March 12, 2022, when Indian authorities intercepted a shipment of Italian-made thermoelectric instruments at the Nhava Sheva port. 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.

Also Read: Indian agencies stop Pakistan-bound ship from China, seize cargo linked to nuclear weapons