Proliferation players react to US deal
By Makhdoom Babar
Islamabad—In a major development, some eight Indian nuclear scientists,
reported to be highly active members of Prasad-Chaudhary Nuclear
Proliferation Network (PCNPN) have reacted very strongly to Indo-US
nuclear deal, saying that the deal will bring a great interference of
the US in India’s “Sensitive Nuclear” affairs.
In a letter The scientists, who include three former chiefs of the
Atomic Energy Commission, India’s top atomic agency, led by Dr YSR
Prasad, currently facing sanctions by the US State Department owing to
his Nuclear Proliferation activities to help Iran and North Korea, in an
open letter , sent to Indian parliament, urged that India should not
agree to a deal that placed a perpetual restraint on its nuclear
options. “We have built our capabilities in many sensitive technological
areas, which need not and should not be subjected to external control,”
they said in a joint statement, drafted and forwarded by Dr. Prasad,
head of Prasad-Chaudhary Nuclear Proliferation Netwrok, a network,
termed by various world agencies and media organization to be far bigger
than Khan network.
While welcoming the broad thrust of the deal, they expressed concern
over changes suggested as it has made its way through the U.S.
“We find that this deal with the US, in the form approved by the U.S.
House of Representatives, infringes on our independence for carrying out
indigenous research and development,” they wrote.
“If the U.S. Congress, in its wisdom, passes the bill in its present
form, the ‘product’ will become unacceptable to India.”
The deal, under which India will get access to nuclear fuel and
equipment in return for international inspections and the separation of
civilian and military programmes, received initial approval by the U.S.
House of Representatives last month.
The scientists also appealed to Indian lawmakers to debate the suggested
amendments and ensure they “do not inhibit our future ability to develop
and pursue nuclear technologies.
However, it is surprising and interesting as well that Dr. C Surrender
Chaudhary, the prime accomplice of Dr. Prasad in Proliferation
activities and was put under sanctions by the US State Department along
with Dr. Prasad on 29th September 2004 when the State Department took
the action under Nonproliferation Act 200 through Public Notice No-4845,
notified it in the Federal Register as 69FR 58212 Notice, has not signed
the said later. It is pertinent to mention here the Surrender
Chaudhary’s name was deleted from the US State department’s list of
under sanctioned nuclear proliferation accused, earlier this year and is
currently just under watch.
When contacted, , highly reliable sources at the IAEA in Vienna
expressed their utmost surprise over such a belated yet, strong reaction
on part of some Indian nuclear scientist, to merely mildest restriction
by the US was highly surprising and to anybody’s dismay.
The analysts, concerned, when contacted by The Daily Mail, were of the
view that keeping in view the past record of Indian nuclear scientist
regarding the proliferation activities that had been taking place with
all the blessings of New Delhi, it can easily be ascertained that they
were feeling perturbed the deal with the US as they must be fearing that
under the deal, the US access to India’s nuclear affairs would expose
the proliferation activities of the past as well as the present. “ I ask
why they are so disturbed about the sensitivity of their nuclear
programme since the said deal is limited to civilian nuclear
infrastructure and not the military one? Well! The answer is that all
the nuclear proliferation activities, carried out by Dr Prasad and his
network took place mainly in the civilian side and that’s what is making
them more fearsome”, asserted professor Ali Ahmed, a seasoned analyst
and researcher. He was also of the opinion that Dr. Prasad, who has left
no grace after being exposed as the main player of India’s nuclear
underworld trade, and is still facing US sanctions for such acts, also
wants to negotiate some barter deal with the Americans by forming a
strong group to oppose the deal. “ See why Surrender Chaudhary did not
sign the said letter ? just because he made a big gain by getting his
name removed from the sanctions list and thus he did not want to annoy
the Americans anymore whereas Prasad is still facing the charges so he
also must be looking forward to some relief from Washington”, observed
A spotlight on Indian Nuclear Scientists’ proliferation history.
The Daily Mail’s investigation indicate that Dr Prasad and Dr
Surendar remained hectically engaged in proliferation activities and
kept supplying with atomic know-how and nuke tech to different countries
with Iran being on top of list. Though the Indian nuke bigwigs took part
in the global proliferation activities via the underworld nuclear
network, established by Dr Prasad (details below) but their
proliferation activities regarding Tehran’s ambitious nuke
infrastructure had all the blessings of Delhi and Iranian government was
assured full back up support including the provision of a variety of
parts and material by the Indian government. In fact Dr Prasad and Dr
Surendar were all out create a state-of-the-art nuke infrastructure for
the Iranians that could have enabled Tehran to establish a huge arsenal
of Thermonuclear Weaponry and even the Hydrogen Bomb as Indian never
wanted to have presence of such a facility at its soil due to certain
objections of Israel and the US, however it was decided by Delhi to
create such a facility at Iran for subsequent use by India eliminating
all the risks on its part. Under this plan, the Indian nuke Scientists,
tasked to assist Iranian nuke programme chalked out a special
three-stage nuke project for Iranians, identical to the one that was
earlier prepared for India’s own usage.
In the first stage of this programme, power reactors, that were to be
provided to Tehran by Delhi were to utilize Natural Uranium. At the 2nd
stage, fast breeder reactors were to be employed at Iranian nuke sites
that were to use Plutonium from the first stage while at the 3rd stage
reactors were to be run with Thorium and this Thorium was to be supplied
to Iran by the Indian government from the sand beaches of Kerala and
Orrisa where Indians have huge Thorium reserves. It is pertinent to
mention here that the reactors that were proposed for Tehran are the
ones where Indian Nuke Scientists developed a marvellous skill
developing Tritium. However, this plan was immediately shelved after
Delhi developed a hunch that Israeli Spy agency had scented this
development and everything was being monitored.
Findings of The Daily Mail reveal that India’s nuclear cooperation with
Iran also has a long history. In 1994 police in the West Khasi Hills
District of Indian State of Meghalaya near Uranium mining site,
accidentally arrested four persons trying to smuggle large quantity of
Uranium. Police sources initially claimed that a former employee of
Indian Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) then working in a Persian Gulf
(probably Iran) was also registered by the Meghalaya Police Station
against the said former official. However, the case was immediately
hushed up so as not to expose the linkup of Indian nuclear establishment
with nuclear underworld via Dubai, serving aspirant countries having
cover nuclear programme for heavy sums of money.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that in 1991 Tehran and delhi
were negotiating the sale of a 10 megawatt research reactor for
installation at Iranian facility at Kalaye Electric Company (KEC) and
the possibility of sale of a research power reactor. US applied pressure
on Indian not to undertake these contracts. Although under pressure
India initially seemed to comply with the US demand, however, credible
reports indicated that India, after all secretly carried through the
deal by March 1992 despite US pressure. Interestingly it was at the KEC
from where traces of LEU and HEU were discovered by the IAEA during
environment sampling, which led to admittance by Tehran in October 2003
that it carried out centrifuge testing over there using UF6. It also
admitted extraction of small amounts of Plutonium.
These disclosures were coupled with a sensational discovery that a
leading Indian nuclear scientist and former Chairman and Managing
Director of Nuclear Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) Dr Y S R Prasad
has been employed by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) after
his retirement in 2000. The revelation came as a part of Iran’s efforts
to fulfil its promise to the IAEA to make complete declaration of its
past and present activities in a bid to clear its name from allegations
of developing nuclear weapons. However, India managed to partially
blackout the news with an amazing speed. The news item was got removed
from the website of Hindustan Times within hours of its appearance under
special instructions of Indian Ministry of Media and Information. Indian
also send special emissary to Tehran urging it not to make any further
disclosures about the extent of involvement in the Iranian nuclear
programme of other officials of its Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and NPCIL. Indian External affairs
Minister Yashwant Sinha also later paid a visit to Tehran on 13 December
2003 pleading with Iranians to mute on their nuclear engagements with
the Indians. He reiterated India’s support to Iran on peaceful uses of
nuclear energy and reiterated promise as bait to buy Iranian gas by
laying a gas pipeline.
The Daily Mail’s research indicates that Dr Y S R Prasad, who worked a
lifelong with the Indian nuclear establishment has had quite a history
of questionable practices. During his frequent visits to the former
Soviet Union in connection with nuclear collaboration programme between
India and USSR subsequently Russia, Prasad developed an extensive
network with the lowly paid off Soviet break-up owning to inflation and
devaluation. Prasad soon developed a network of nuclear inventories of
Russia and other breakaway Republics. At many of these facilities guards
and even scientist remained without salaries for months.
Even back home, Prasad’s activities had started raising eyebrows. NPCIL,
which Prasad headed, had become a breading ground for nepotism and
sycophancy degenerating to a dangerous cover-up culture. Prasad was the
linchpin of an unholy nexus between unscrupulous business
establishments, corrupt officials of NPCIL and the sacred cow DAE,
India. Serious irregularities were discovered by audit in the
procurement by NPCIL for Kakrapara Atomic Power Station. Fraudulent
practices were also reported in procurement for Kaiga I and II Power
Stations in Karnatka and RAPP III and IV Power Stations at Rawatbhata
near Kota, Rajasthan. Prasad meanwhile managed to get an extension in
his service through his networking within the Indian nuclear
establishment particularly with the blessings of Chairman AEC and
Secretary DAE Dr Chidambaram, despite having reached the age of
superannuation in 1998. Nonetheless, Prasad realized that it would be
difficult for him to clinch to the Indian nuclear network for long and
started looking for other venues. His contracts with Iran in connection
with clandestine nuclear cooperation with Indian proved handy and landed
him a job in Tehran., Prasad left NPCIL on 30 April 2003 but before he
managed to manipulate putting his close confidant Chaudary Surender in
his shoes even though Chaudary was also on a two years extension due to
expire in August 2000.
Iran’s nuclear programme received a major boost with joining of Prasad.
Owing to his resourceful network within the Indian and Russian nuclear
circles, pieces of nuclear puzzle started to fall in place at a amazing
pace. Alarm bells were raised and US put pressure on IAEA to very
certain violations of Treaty obligations by Iran, supplying it some
information from its own intelligence, which finally resulted in IAEA
inspections in Iran. Thus Prasad unwittingly proved to be a
precipitating factor in the disclosure of Iran’s secret nuclear
The Daily Mail’s research suggests that nuclear cooperation between
India and Iraq started in 1974 under the direct supervision of Saddam
Hussain himself on the Iraqi side when he was still the Vice president.
Saddam flew to India, especially to sign a Nuclear Cooperation Treaty
with the then Indian Prime Minister late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The little
known Treaty involved the exchange of scientists, training and
technology. To cover up this secret Treaty, India and Iraq signed an
overt “Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of
Republic of Iraq relating to the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy on 28
March 1974 at New Delhi. The then Indian Foreign Secretary Mr Kewal
Singh and the Head of Iraqi Economic Bureau Mr Fakhri Y Kaddori signed
the agreement, in the presence of Mrs Gandhi and Saddam. India tested it
first nuclear explosive device on 18 May 1974, in less then two months
time from signing of these agreements, thanks to the massive infusion of
Iraqi petro-dollars to the programme. It sis a further irony that the 12
kilo-tons nuclear explosion was code name as ‘Smiling Buddha’ by the
Indians and obvious to insult the peaceful teachings of Buddha and
reflective of the grudge that the Hindu extremists carry against
Buddhism from having spread across the world from India rather than
Incidentally India had itself used the CANDU reactors, supplied to it by
the Government of Canada to extract Plutonium for this test. In addition
the technical assistance and reactor designs supplied by Canada to India
enabled it to develop a capacity to produce over 300 kilograms of
plutonium annually. Only 5 to 8 Kg Plutonium is required to produce a
nuclear bomb. Canada again included India into CANDU discuss
consultative information exchange Group in 1980s despite glaring abuse
by it in the past. In 1995 Canadian Atomic Energy staff visited India to
discuss another sale of CANDU reactors to India. It was at the Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre that India developed tritium a heavy water
isotope using the Canadian design power reactors. The same tritium was
used by it in the 1998 nuclear explosions.
Coming back to the Indo-Iraqi nexus, the Iraqi researchers were allowed
access to work with Indian scientists in the Plutonium separation labs
that were used to extract Plutonium for India’s first nuclear explosion.
Saddam later managed to obtain a nuclear fuel-reprocessing unit from
CNEN of Italy. India also leased numerous scientists to Iraq under the
garb of Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement over the years. One such
scientist spent a year, training Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission’s
scientists on use of nuclear computer codes to carry out computer
simulated cold nuclear tests, including how easy it was to hide a
nuclear weapons programme under the cover of peaceful use.
In the words of a former Iraqi nuclear scientists Khidhir Abdul Abas
Hamza who managed to defect in 1994, Iraq’s Nuclear weapons programme
was personally directed byt Saddam, which was abetted by a host of
Western countries and India over a period of several decades. According
to Hamza it was surprising how easy it was to negotiate peaceful nuclear
cooperation agreements with Soviet Union, India, Brazil, France, Germany
and other European countries to cover obtaining technology for weapons
programme. “We were astonished that companies were actually helping us
find cover stories for equipment needed by us”, Hamza was quoted in an
interview. Hamza’s disclosures had detailed information about how some
Indian companies and German companies, including Degussa AG Leybol etc,
helped Iraq in establishing its nuclear programme.
The Daily Mail’s findings reveal that Iraq and India continued nuclear
cooperation under the patronage of two governments and later extended
this co-op to other Iraqi WMD programmes like Chemical and Biological
Weapons. India had an extensive covert chemical weapons programme and
its helped Iraq tremendously in this field. India itself lied to the
international community when it signed the Chemical Weapons Treaty in
1997 as a non Chemical Weapons State but later admitted it CWs programme
under threat of challenge inspection. In 1986 Iraq had procured 160,000
aluminium tubes from European suppliers and made additional purchases in
2000-1. These CIA presumed to be a proof of an Iraqi centrifuge program.
Iraq turned to Indian company NEC and Dubai Branch of Indian Company TT
S,A when other source failed to provide it with more tubes. A Dubai
based Iraqi businessman Muntasir Awni acted as conduit between the two
Indian companies and Iraqi company Rasheed for supply of these aluminium
tubes. NEC Engineers India Private Ltd also supplied al-Mamoon Company
in Iraq a new plant to produce ammonium per-chlorate a key ingredient in
the production of solid fuel propellant rocket motors. NEC also supplied
technology for Fallujah 2 chlorine plant. According to an Iraqi
independent paper al’ Mada Saddam also used oil as bribes to Indian
Congress Party’s top officials with the aim to create political support
inside of India for such sensitive transfers.
It is evident that if the international community is serious about
stoppage of WMDs’ production and nuclear proliferation, it has got to
place emphasis on India and West rather than peripheries, for its here
that the buck starts and stops.
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(ii) Iran to Buy Indian Reactors, Washington Post November 15, 1991
and mark D. Shootsky; US Nuclear Policy towards Iran.
(iii) Report (derestricted) by the Director General IAEA to Board of
Governors: November 2003.
(iv) Agence France Presse (AFP: 23 October 2003.
(v) Hindustan Times: 23 October 2003.
(vi) AFP: 13 December 2003.
(vii) NM Sampath Kumar: SAT Issue 50, 13-19 July
(viii) Why All of India’s Nuclear Plants Should be Shut Down
(ix) CCNR: Indian Nuclear Bomb Tests. 13 May 1998.
(xi) Janes Intelligence Review January 1998.
(xii) Institute for Science and International Studies (ISIS): May 1998
(xiv) Cornell: An Iraqi Defector Warns of Iraqi Nuclear Weapons
(xv) Albright, David, Iraq’s Aluminium Tubes: Separating Fact from
Fiction. December 2003.
(xvi) UK Dossier paragraph 31.
(xvii)alMada January 28 issue