Jyestha Shuddha Trutiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5112
After the exception the NSG accorded to India in 2008 to enable the implementation of its civilian nuclear pact with the US, Pakistan had sought a similar deal from Washington and after having been turned down, "it now appears that China will soon announce its deal with Pakistan to export two nuclear reactors", Commodore (retd) C. Uday Bhaskar, director of think tank National Maritime Foundation (NMF), said.
"This will be without NSG concurrence and despite the many misgivings about Pakistan's track record, its linkages to terror and radical ideologies," he said while addressing a seminar here on "Nuclear Arsenals post-2010", organised by the Indian Navy-funded NMF.
"One can infer that this is the equivalent of China announcing its own autonomy in the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) domain and that the US is no longer the determining factor in matters nuclear," Bhaskar contended.
"In effect, this would mean that China is cocking a snook at the NSG, the US and the rest of the world," he added.
Tracing Pakistan's missile and nuclear acquisitions and the upcoming deal with China, he said these had "many grave implications" for the region - and particularly India.
"Tracking Pakistan's nuclear acquisitions, it is evident that Pakistan, which began with an enriched uranium weapon, is now moving toward the plutonium option. This switch has many grave implications for the region - and India in particular.
"This is primarily due to the distinctive status Pakistan has apropos its nuclear weapon: It is the only country where the army has its finger on the button, the current civilian leadership notwithstanding," Bhaskar maintained.
He also noted that Pakistan was the only state "to use the nuclear weapon to enhance its strategic space for pursuing a revisionist agenda that invests in religious radicalism and supports terrorism".
"China is cognisant of this pattern and has yet chosen to continue its support to Pakistan's nuclear programme," Bhaskar contended.
In this context, he noted that though the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had come into being in 1970, "concurrently, the world spawned a very complex nuclear eco-system often shrouded and deliberately muddied, with a disconnect between rhetoric and reality. States, state representatives and opaque activities led to selective proliferation and spread".
"One such WMD domain was the one spawned by China, of which the Sino-Pakistan one is the better known, with linkages extending from North Korea to Saudi Arabia," Bhaskar pointed out.