defence and security news


Friday, January 09, 2004
India To Pay RSK MiG $140M for Gorshkov Aircraft

India and the producers of MiG aircraft, Russian Aircraft-building Corporation MiG (RSK MiG), have agreed on the price India will pay for 16 MiG-29K aircraft that will outfit the Admiral Gorshkov, the retired Russian aircraft carrier that India has been negotiating to acquire.
An Indian Navy official told that the Indian Defence Ministry and RSK MiG on Jan. 8 signed a memorandum of understanding for India to buy the MiG-29Ks for $140 million, around $6.6 million per aircraft. The Indian Navy official said the $140 million would include integration of additional equipment and training for the Indian pilots.
Indian Defence Ministry officials confirmed Dec. 4 that New Delhi and Moscow, after three years of negotiations, had agreed that India will pay $666.6 million for the retired aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to be refitted by SevMash Enterprise, Severodvinsk, Russia. Russia in 2000 offered the ship to India free of cost provided India paid for its refitting in Russia and bought Russian aircraft. Talks on the carrier deal began 10 years ago.
With agreements on the MiG-29Ks and the refit price of the Admiral Gorshkov, the deal for India to acquire the aircraft carrier likely will be inked during the Jan. 20 visit of the Russian defense minister to India, a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said Jan.8.
Grant Signals New Military Ties Between India, Sri Lanka

In a major improvement in India-Sri Lankan defense ties, India is granting its neighbor $10.86 million to upgrade the Palaly air base in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna area.
The Palaly base is in poor condition following years of fighting between Tamil Tiger guerillas and the Sri Lankan Army. Officials in the Indian Defence Ministry said Jan. 7 the grant would fund infrastructure improvements at the base.
Indian officials added that the grant is a response to a Sri Lankan Defence Ministry proposal. Sri Lanka also has sought Indian military assistance in leasing transport helicopters, disclosed the officials.
New Delhi increasingly is fostering defense ties with Sri Lanka, as the island nation’s strategic location can help India in securing its interests in the Indian Ocean, added one Indian Defence Ministry official here.
India’s new command in the Andaman and Nicobar islands of the Indian Ocean is regarded as the base of its future rapid deployment and provides a surveillance hub for eyeing Chinese activity in Myanmar’s Coco islands.
Defense ties between India and Sri Lanka have been strained since the withdrawal from Sri Lanka of an Indian peacekeeping force in 1990.
India has also agreed to a Sri Lankan request to train its troops at Indian military training establishments.
Sri Lanka also is seeking warships and speedboats built at Indian shipyards
India to Test Longer-Range Agni Ballistic Missile

India will test its longer-range Agni ballistic missile in the next few months, newspapers here reported Jan. 1.
“Agni-111 will certainly be launched in the next few months,” V.K. Atre, chief of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) told reporters here Dec. 31.
The Times of India daily said the flight-testing could be held within four months, but there was no immediate official confirmation of the report.
DRDO sources say the latest variant of the nuclear-capable Agni (Fire) missile will have a maximum range of up to 4,000 kilometers (2,480 miles), making it capable of striking strategic targets deep inside China.
Agni-111’s test was originally scheduled for 2003 but it was deferred because of moves by arch-rivals India and Pakistan to bury decades of mutual hostility, analysts say.
India has already begun the production of its 700-kilometer (434-mile) Agni-1 and the 2,500-kilometer- (1,550-mile-) range Agni-11 after flight-testing both the ballistic missiles several times since 1993.
India, which conducted nuclear weapons tests in 1998, has developed a series of nuclear and conventional missile systems as part of the DRDO’s Integrated Missile Development Program, which was launched in 1983

Indian Plant Assembles First Russian-Built T-90

India’s state-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadhi in southern India has completed assembly of the first Russian-built T-90 tank ever put together in the country.
An Indian Defence Ministry official said the plant on Jan. 7 will roll out the tank, which arrived from Russia in a partially disassembled state — lacking a few systems such as the gun barrel, thermal imaging sights and fire-control system, to be attached in India.
Under an agreement signed with Russia’s Uralvagonzavod State Enterprise in 2000, India is buying 310 T-90 tanks for $650 million. Russia to date has delivered to New Delhi about 90 of 100 combat-ready tanks at a cost of $2 million each. The remaining 210 tanks are to be built at Indian facilities under a technology-transfer deal.
The Defence Ministry official told on Jan. 6 that Indian technicians now are preparing to put together other partially assembled T-90 tanks, including many that will require completion or assembly of engines, fire-control and gun-control systems, and other components. The partially assembled T-90 tanks were shipped to India from Russia in early 2003.
After the technicians assemble these tanks, the Heavy Vehicles Factory will start complete production, on a licensed basis, of the remaining T-90 tanks. Heavy Vehicles Factory is India’s only tank manufacturing facility and is controlled by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board.
The Defence Ministry official added that production of the tanks to be built entirely in India will take another three years as the infrastructure has yet to be set up at the Avadhi factory.
India decided to procure the 310 T-90 tanks after Pakistan acquired T-80 main battle tanks from Ukraine.
Indian Navy Will Face Sweeping EW Upgrades

The combat and surveillance capabilities of several Indian Navy vessels have deteriorated to such an extent that the service has been forced to limit operations to the Indian Ocean, prompting the government to review extensive modernization requests.
For the past three years, five Russian-built Kashin-II-class destroyers, one Brahmaputra-class frigate, three Godavari-class frigates, five Leander-class frigates and two Petya-II frigates have had operations restricted due to the poor performance and unreliability of aging electronic warfare (EW) systems, Navy officials said Dec. 16.
Cmdr. Vinay Garg, Navy spokesman, said Dec. 15 that Russian-built EW systems have gone beyond their life cycle and must be replaced. The service initially will procure a few EW systems from Israel and experiment with them aboard Russian-built warships during the next two to three years.
The Navy has approached Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd., Haifa, Israel, to supply seven Shipborne Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems that can be integrated with the existing combat systems of the warships. The initial contract, for seven EW systems, would be worth $107 million.
For the longer term, the government is considering the Navy’s $500 million EW modernization proposal, a senior Ministry of Defence official said Dec.16.
Building an EW Suite
As part of an integrated EW suite, the Navy wants electronic support measures equipment that can be mounted on its warships as passive prime sensors for long-range tactical surveillance, intelligence gathering, over-the-horizon targeting and threat warning, the service officials said.
The service also is scouting for highly effective radiated power multibeam array transmitters capable of providing coverage against multiple threats. In addition, the Navy will procure dozens of digital radio frequency memory systems capable of digitally capturing, delaying and then replaying an accurate representation — in terms of phase, frequency and pulse width — of the received radar pulse.
Indigenous Efforts
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is focused on developing electronic intelligence from foreign sources, or ELINT, moving away from electronic support measures systems, one Navy official said.
“There is a subtle but important difference between the two. [Electronic support measures] is primarily a tactical tool used by a commander, whereas ELINT provides strategic intelligence such as warning of imminent hostilities,” he said.
The DRDO has developed ELINT systems that can track ships and aircraft passively, the Navy official added.
The agency also has created EW support systems to bolster the war-fighter’s capabilities on the electronic battlefield, but a second Defence Ministry official criticized the agency’s EW efforts as piecemeal. Such projects must be built under a comprehensive plan to achieve complete interoperability of EW systems and other shipborne sensors, he said.
“Apart from developing and mounting new-generation EW systems on the warships, the main task is to devise a closer interaction between the Indian Navy, designers of EW systems, production agencies and DRDO, which is lacking at the moment,” Krishna Arora, an independent defense analyst and retired Indian Navy commander, said Dec. 17
How Musharraf Has Divided the Military in Pakistan?
By Tarique Niazi
SINCE THE DAWN of Pakistan, its military has never fired off missives of protest to opposition leaders whom each government branded as “enemies of Pakistan.” Fifty five years after, the restive rank and file of Pakistan Army, disgusted by their “warlord,” Gen. Pervez Musharraf, took a deep breath and decided to cross that taboo.
This year they began a letter-writing campaign, enlisting the support of the country’s largest-ever movement for democracy, the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), to rid the country of Gen. Musharraf. The letter-writers made two-fold demands: First, a thorough probe should be conducted into the 1999 Kargil war between Pakistan and India, whose ultimate outcome was five more years in power for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India and its fired prime minister, AB Vajpayee; while Pakistan Army was paraded around the world as a “bunch of rogues,” and Pakistan itself was since condemned to live under dictatorship.
Second, the cabal of army generals who committed the lethal violation of the Constitution of Pakistan should be unmasked by an investigation into the October 12, 1999 coup.
Interestingly, the letter-writers did not address the democratic opposition as “opposition.” They instead addressed it with the honorific of “Qaumi Qiadat” (National Leadership), which is represented by Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, and their respective parties – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (PML).
These leaders and their parties present a sharp contrast to Gen. Musharraf’s cabinet of water-carriers, dressed up as ministers and prime minister to front his military dictatorship. None of his cabinet members, who are slave to their personal and parochial interests, has any stake in Pakistan.
Over the past four years, Gen. Musharraf has systematically undertaken the destruction of national politics and national leadership by promoting personalism and parochialism all across the country. As a result, “Pakistan” is today left for only two parties to own it: “Pakistan” People’s Party (PPP) and “Pakistan” Muslim League (PML). There is no other mentionable political outfit in any of the country’s four provinces to prefix or suffix the word “Pakistan” to its name. Not an unremarkable feat just in four years!
This rapid decline in national integration has raised the red flags for the military that turned to the national leadership to help reverse it. The letter-writers used Pakistan Army’s stationery, embossed with the General Headquarters’ (GHQ) monogram, for their letters to lend due authenticity to their contents.
Having received these letters for months, it finally fell to the bravest of the brave Javed Hashmi, who presides over the ARD, to make these letters and their contents public. As soon as he did that, Gen. Musharraf let loose his hounds to have him kidnapped on October 29 from his official residence in Islamabad. He had since been kept incommunicado.
Mr. Hashmi’s guilt is not yet firm in the mind of his captors. Now it is sedition; now it is treason. Sedition implies to “divide the military” (against Gen. Musharraf!); while treason means to bring physical harm to Pakistan. Does “division in the military” make news? I would suspect the patriotism of the military if it is not divided against its abuser-in-chief, Gen. Musharraf, and his treacherous ways to build himself up and build Pakistan down. How could not the military divide against him when he used its raw force to dismantle one institution of the country after another to keep him in power? Bureaucracy. Constitution. Judiciary. Police. Parliament. And now military.
In January 2001 he had the Chief Justice of Pakistan house-arrested? Then, he went on to fire five of his brother judges on the bench, who were suspected of standing up to him for defense of the Constitution. Undeterred still, he again shouldered himself onto the military to invent the farce of April 2002 referendum to elect himself president? He kick started his fraudulent election campaign in military uniform (wearing a look of clown) with his corps commanders in attendance (no past military dictator in Pakistan went that far in his perverse ambitions to prostitute the military for political gains).
All across the country, his rallies were swelled with troops bused in from nearby military encampments. In August 2002, he disemboweled the Constitution with a knife of 29 self-serving amendments, a.k.a., Legal Framework Order (LFO). Yet he stopped the members of the superior judiciary from pledging allegiance to Pakistan and its constitution. Instead, he bribed his way to the judges with a three-year extension in their service on the bench in flagrant violation of the constitution.
He did not limit bribery to the judiciary alone, however; he extended it to the military also. He used bribe and corruption as the glue to firm up what he calls the “unity of command” (read: Pakistan Army). Tens of thousands of military personnel were bought off with lucrative civilian sector employment to quieten down the rumblings in their ranks.
Until December 2001, as many as 20,000 military personnel were posted all across Pakistan to serve as the eyes and ears of Gen. Musharraf’s dictatorship by “monitoring” civil bureaucrats in their respective district headquarters. According to press reports in Pakistan, many of the “monitors” minted millions from their earful and eye-filling work. They would have been making hay to this day, had India not mobilized in December 2001 hundreds of thousands of its troops to amass along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir.
The 20,000 monitors were then called up to do what they were paid for: Defend Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf’s attempts to corrupt the military had since stirred deep resentment that seeped down to the ranks. It was no coincidence that he was target of an assassination plot thought up and executed exclusively by non-commissioned officers (NCOs), a first-ever example of its kind in the military history of Pakistan!
It doesn’t mean that general officers (brigadiers and above) were hesitant in venting their grumbles and growls at the daily abuse of their institution by a power-mad dictator. They were repulsed, too, and their repulsion was forcefully expressed by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Abdul Aziz, who publicly rebuffed Gen. Musharraf for his insistence to double as Army chief and president. Within days, Gen. Musharraf had to face even worse humiliation at the hands of his corps commanders who ruthlessly grilled him for his “patriotic failings.”
He emerged so deeply scarred from that grilling that he let out a public scream of self-pity: “I shall be traitor to Pakistan if I compromise Pakistan’s interests.” Traitor! Exactly, it was the “T” word with which his commanders shot him in their supersecret sessions held in the depths of their GHQ.
The rank and file of the military has since been kept solidly behind Gen. Musharraf by the force of media-manufactured fibs: That the nation has unwavering faith in their super patriotism, and is willing to swallow “anything in uniform” (including Gen. Musharraf). The bubble of these fibs popped up on three occasions to bare the contrary ugly reality: First, when 20,000 military monitors left their civilian posts to face down Indian troops in December 2001, their civilian victims were widely reported in Pakistan to have breathed a collective sigh of relief with their heartfelt thanks reserved for the terrorists that shot up Indian Parliament and enraged enough India’s prime minister to cast the attack into an “Indian 9/11” (as if it was a badge of honor to show off!).
Second, the farce of April 2002 referendum disgusted the nation so much that the “giants” of the Pakistani press stood on the shoulders of the “gnats” of Pakistani politics to anticipate a “war” between Pakistan and India as “the only way out of Gen. Musharraf’s dictatorship.” If these signals were garbled for the military to read, a police constable’s daring in Lahore to flag a general officer’s car for its tinted windows was too unmistakable a sign of the nation’s loss of faith in the military to miss. The incident painfully showed that Pakistan has run out of patience with its military dictator. Popular outrage impaled the military as an institution across the windscreen of the errant general’s car and in the blood-soaked face of the constable, who was beaten to the pulp. The groundswell of mass support for the constable that flooded from every nook and corner of Pakistan was, however, a “false positive:” It was the pretend hurrah for the constable that masked the tearful outrage against every member of the armed forces.
The masses’ resentment against the military, as evidenced in the above incidents, broke through the lies spun by the media, and had every patriotic soldier thinking hard and long. The letter-writers who have kept their identity secret are the newly awakened members of the armed forces. Mr. Hashmi took upon himself to warn the nation of their concerns and the divisions that run along such concerns. If ignored, these concerns can set off the bloodiest-ever civil war. The guilty party here is not the one who is warning the nation of the danger of divisions in the military, or the divisions themselves, but the Divider-in-Chief – Gen. Musharraf, whose day in court is not far off, if he had not fled the country.
The second charge against Javed Hashmi is that of treason! Gen. Musharraf had all his front men badmouthed Mr Hashmi for “playing into the hands of RAW” (Indian military’s Research and Analysis Wing). I do not suspect Gen. Musharraf’s or his cronies’ “intentions” on Pakistan. It is their “actions” that make me suspect their patriotism. If Gen. Musharraf continues down the path he has followed for the past four years, Pakistan will not need India or RAW to finish it.
Gen. Musharraf already has done to Pakistan what India could not have done in the past 55 years. The only reason for Pakistan to continue to exist is Mr. Hashmi and the millions of its daughters and sons like Mr. Hashmi. A hundred million Musharrafs (that will be 20 billion pounds of garbage) are not worth the ground that Mr Hashmi walks. He is a stake in the heart of the dictator and his dictatorship, which makes him so “dangerous.” But when it comes to patriotism, Mr. Hashmi is the North Star of it to which every member of the armed forces and every citizen of Pakistan looks to soak up its light. Patriotism is defined by his courage and a tale of his endless sacrifices for Pakistan. The difference between Mr Hashmi and Gen. Musharraf is that Mr Hashmi bled for Pakistan, while Gen. Musharraf bled Pakistan for himself.
This contrast brings me to my long overdue advice to the democratic opposition. First, stop second-guessing the divisions in the military. They are real, and do something about them before they begin to be acted out in blood (i.e., get rid of Gen. Musharraf). Second, keep your outrage directed at the Divider-in-Chief, Gen. Musharraf who, like autotroph, is now cutting into the bough he is nesting on – military.
Do not play into his hands by quibbling over Hudood Ordinance, which could be settled after Pakistan is rid of dictatorship, the supremacy of the constitution is upheld, and a democratically elected government is put in place. Third, craft a unified demand for Gen. Musharraf to step down in a given timeline, and call for free and fair elections under a caretaker government. Fourth, if he refuses to step down, resign from national and provincial legislatures and give a nation-wide call to overthrow the dictator and his dictatorship. Anything less than that will be a lease on life for Gen. Musharraf and death knell for the democratic opposition.
Is the Trail of Nuclear Transfers to Rogue Nations Leading towards Pakistan
By David E. Sanger & William J. Broad
THE PAKISTANI leaders who denied for years that scientists at the country's secret A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories were peddling advanced nuclear technology must have been averting their eyes from a most conspicuous piece of evidence: the laboratory's own sales brochure, quietly circulated to aspiring nuclear weapons states and a network of nuclear middlemen around the world.
The cover bears an official-looking seal that says "Government of Pakistan" and a photograph of the father of the Pakistani bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan. It promotes components that were spinoffs from Pakistan's three-decade-long project to build a nuclear stockpile of enriched uranium, set in a drawing that bears a striking resemblance to a mushroom cloud.
In other nations, such sales would be strictly controlled. But Pakistan has always played by its own rules.
As investigators unravel the mysteries of the North Korean, Iranian and now the Libyan nuclear projects, Pakistan — and those it empowered with knowledge and technology they are now selling on their own — has emerged as the intellectual and trading hub of a loose network of hidden nuclear proliferators.
That network is global, stretching from Germany to Dubai and from China to South Asia, and involves many middlemen and suppliers. But what is striking about a string of recent disclosures, experts say, is how many roads appear ultimately to lead back to the Khan Research Laboratories in Kahuta, where Pakistan's own bomb was developed.
In 2002 the United States was surprised to discover how North Korea had turned to the Khan laboratory for an alternative way to manufacture nuclear fuel, after the reactors and reprocessing facilities it had relied on for years were "frozen" under a now shattered agreement with the Clinton administration. Last year, international inspectors and Western intelligence agencies were surprised again, this time by the central role Pakistan played in the initial technology that enabled Iran to pursue a secret uranium enrichment program for 18 years.
The sources of Libya's enrichment program are still under investigation, but those who have had an early glance say they see "interconnections" with both Pakistan and Iran's programs — and Libyan financial support for the Pakistani program that stretches back three decades.
Until two weeks ago, Pakistani officials had long denied that any nuclear technology was transferred from their laboratories. But now that story has begun to change, after the Pakistani authorities, under pressure, began interrogating scientists from the laboratory about their assistance to other nuclear aspirants. Two weeks ago, Dr. Khan himself was called in for what appears to have been a respectful, and still inconclusive, questioning.
Responding to requests relayed through associates, Dr. Khan has recently denied that he aided atomic hopefuls. But American and European officials note that in the 1980's he repeatedly denied that Pakistan was at work on an atomic bomb, which it finally tested in 1998.
While American intelligence officials have gathered details on the activities of the creator of the Pakistani bomb and his compatriots for decades, four successive American presidents have dealt with the issue extremely delicately, turning modest sanctions against Pakistan on and off, for fear of destabilizing the country when it was needed to counter the Soviets in the 1980's, much as it is needed to battle terrorism today.
President Bush, who regularly talks about nuclear dangers, has never mentioned Pakistan's laboratories or their proliferation in public — probably out of concern of destabilizing President Pervez Musharraf, who has survived two assassination attempts in December.
"He's been a stand-up guy when it comes to dealing with the terrorists," Mr. Bush said of General Musharraf on Thursday. "We are making progress against Al Qaeda because of his cooperation." He dismissed a question about the vulnerability of Pakistan's own nuclear weapons, saying, "Yes, they are secure," then changed the subject.
Yet when President Bush talks about the horrors that could unfold if a nuclear weapon fell into the hands of terrorists, it is Pakistan's combustible mix of expertise, components, fuel and fully assembled weapons that springs to the minds of American and European intelligence experts. In public, the White House says it has received "assurances" from Pakistan that if there ever were nuclear exports they are finished.
"There is this almost empty-headed recitation of assurances that whatever Pakistan did in the past it's over, it's no longer a problem," said one senior European diplomat with access to much of the intelligence about proliferation. "But there's is no evidence that it has ever stopped."
Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations organization charged with monitoring nuclear energy worldwide, contends that the recent nuclear disclosures show that the system put in place at the height of the cold war to contain nuclear weapons technology has ruptured and can no longer control the new nuclear trade.
"The information is now all over the place, and that's what makes it more dangerous than in the 1960's," Dr. ElBaradei said.
The Crucial Ingredient
The biggest hurdle in making a nuclear weapon is not designing the warhead, but getting the right fuel to create an atomic explosion. One route is to extract plutonium from nuclear reactors and reprocess it to produce more fuel, known as creating a fuel cycle. The other is to extract uranium from the ground and enrich it.
The 1970 treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons was devised to control which countries could possess and pursue nuclear arms. It allowed the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union and China to keep all their weapons but required all other signatories to forswear nuclear arms. North Korea, Iran and Libya all signed, allowing I.A.E.A. inspectors limited visits to verify that countries producing nuclear fuel were truly using "atoms for peace." Pakistan and India never signed, nor did Israel.
Aside from inspections, spy satellites and airborne "sniffers" can usually pick out the huge complexes needed to extract spent fuel from nuclear reactors and turn it into bomb fuel. But after North Korea was caught cheating by the United States in the early 1990's and was forced into an agreement to "freeze" its reactor-and-reprocessing complex at Yongbyon, the lesson was clear: to produce bomb fuel, countries needed to take a more surreptitious route.
Uranium enrichment was the most promising, because it could take place in hidden facilities, emitting few traces. And that was the technology that Dr. Khan perfected as his laboratory raced to produce a nuclear bomb to keep up with its rival, India.
The key to the technology is the development of centrifuges. These hollow tubes spin fast to separate a gaseous form of natural uranium into U-238, a heavy isotope, and U-235, a light one. The rare U-235 isotope is the holy grail: it can easily split in two, releasing bursts of nuclear energy.
But making centrifuges is no easy trick. The rotors of centrifuges, spinning at the speed of sound or faster, must be very strong and perfectly balanced or they fly apart catastrophically.
To produce bomb-grade fuel, uranium must pass through hundreds or thousands of centrifuges linked in a cascade, until impurities are spun away and what remains is mainly U-235 . The result is known as highly enriched uranium.
Dr. Khan returned to Pakistan in 1976 after working in the Netherlands, carrying extremely secret centrifuge designs — a Dutch one that featured an aluminum rotor, and a German one made of maraging steel, a superhard alloy. He was charged with stealing the designs from a European consortium where he worked.
"The designs for the machines," said a secret State Department memo at the time, "were stolen by a Pakistani national."
The steel rotor in the German design turned out to be particularly difficult to make, but it could spin twice as fast, meaning it produced more fuel.
Dr. Khan's accomplishments turned him into a national hero. In 1981, as a tribute, the president of Pakistan, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, renamed the enrichment plant the A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories.
Dr. Khan, a fervent nationalist, has condemned the system that limits legal nuclear knowledge to the five major nuclear powers, or that has ignored Israel's nuclear weapon while focusing on the fear of an Islamic bomb. "All Western countries," he was once quoted as saying, "are not only the enemies of Pakistan but in fact of Islam."
In the years before Pakistan's first test in 1998, Dr. Khan and his team began publishing papers in the global scientific literature on how to make and test its uranium centrifuges. In the West, these publications would have been classified secret or top secret.
But Dr. Khan made no secret of his motive: he boasted in print of circumventing the restrictions of the Western nuclear powers, declaring in a 1987 paper that he sought to pierce "the clouds of the so-called secrecy." Papers in 1987 and 1988 detailed how to take the next, difficult steps in the construction of centrifuges — reaching beyond first-generation aluminum rotors to produce more efficient centrifuges out of maraging steel.
David Albright, a former weapons inspector for the I.A.E.A, said the American intelligence community viewed Dr. Khan's papers as a boast. They proved that Pakistan "knew how to build the G-2," a particularly complex design of German origin.
A 1991 paper by his colleagues at the laboratory gave more details away, revealing how to etch special grooves on a centrifuge's bottom bearing, a crucial part for aiding the flow of lubricants in machines spinning at blindingly fast speeds.
A Pentagon program that tracks foreign scientific publications has uncovered dozens of reports, scientific papers and conference proceedings on uranium enrichment that Dr. Khan and his colleagues published. While federal and private experts agree that the blitz left much confidential — including some crucial dimensions, ingredients, manufacturing tricks and design secrets — Pakistan was clearly proclaiming that it had mastered the black art.
"It was a signal to India and the West saying, `Look, we're not the backward people you think we are,' " said Mark Gorwitz, a nonproliferation expert who tracks the Pakistani literature.
The scientific papers were soon followed by sales brochures. Much of the gear marketed by the Khan laboratory was critical for anyone eager to make Dr. Khan's kind of centrifuges. It included vacuum devices that attached to a centrifuge casing and sucked out virtually all the air, reducing friction around the spinning rotors.
In 2000, the Pakistani government ran its own advertisement announcing procedures for commercial exports of many types of nuclear gear, including gas centrifuges and their parts, according to a Congressional Research Service report published in May. Many of the items, it noted, "would be useful in a nuclear weapons program."
Former American intelligence and nonproliferation experts said the CIA was aware of some, but not all, of these activities, and began tracking scientists at the Khan laboratory.
But at every turn, overt pressure was weighed against strategic interests. In the 1980's, Washington viewed Pakistan as a critical ally in the covert war it was waging against the Soviets in Afghanistan. By 1986, American intelligence agencies concluded that Pakistan had succeeded in making weapon-grade uranium, the sure sign that the centrifuges worked. But that same year, Mr. Reagan announced an aid package to Pakistan of more than $4 billion.
The First Nuclear Deals
What American intelligence agencies apparently did not understand at the time was the pace at which Dr. Khan's team was beginning to help other nations.
It started as a quid pro quo with an old patron: China. A declassified State Department memo, obtained by the National Security Archive in Washington, concluded that China, sometime after its first bomb tests in the mid-1960's, had provided Pakistan technology for "fissile material production and possibly also nuclear device design."
Years later, the flow reversed. Mr. Albright, who is the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, an arms control group in Washington, has concluded that China was an early recipient of Pakistan's designs for centrifuges. China had used an antiquated, expensive process for enriching uranium, and the technology Dr. Khan held promised a faster, cheaper, more efficient path to bomb-making.
But that was just the start. Evidence uncovered in recent months shows that around 1987 Pakistan struck a deal with Iran, which had tried unsuccessfully to master enrichment technology on its own during its war with Iraq. The outlines of the deal — pieced together from limited inspections and documents turned over to the I.A.E.A. in October — show that a centrifuge of Pakistani design finally solved Iran's technological problems. That deal was "a tremendous boost," Mr. Albright and his colleague, Corey Hinderstein, said in a draft report on the Iranian program. "The possession of detailed designs could allow Iran to skip many difficult research steps," they added.
The Iranian documents turned over to the I.A.E.A. make no reference to Pakistan itself; they only point to its signature technologies.
"We have middlemen and suspicions," said a Western diplomat with access to the documents. "There is a Pakistani tie for sure, but we don't know the details."
Iran's program fooled the I.A.E.A., which caught no whiff of it during 18 years of inspections. But Pakistan's role was also well hidden from American intelligence agencies.
"We had some intelligence successes with Iran, we knew about some of their enrichment efforts," said Gary Samore, who headed up nonproliferation efforts in the Clinton administration's National Security Council. "What we didn't know was the Pakistan connection — that was a surprise. And the extent of Pakistan's ties was, in retrospect, the surprise of the 1990's."
The Iranians were hardly satisfied customers. They had gotten Pakistan's older models and were forced to slog ahead slowly for two decades, foraging around the world for parts, building experimental facilities involving a few hundred centrifuges, but apparently failing to produce enough fissile material for a bomb.
If the Iranians were the turtle, the North Koreans proved the hare. Around 1997, a decade after the Pakistani deal with Iran, Dr. Khan made inroads with the government of Kim Jong Il, as it sought a way to make nuclear fuel away from the Yongbyon plant and the prying eyes of American satellites. Dr. Khan began traveling to North Korea, visiting 13 times, American intelligence officials said.
During those visits, North Korea offered to exchange centrifuge technology for North Korean missile technology, enabling Pakistan to extend the reach of its nuclear weapons across India.
Again, American intelligence agencies missed many of the signals. They knew of an experimental program, but it took evidence from South Korea to demonstrate that North Korea was moving toward industrial-level production. Then in the summer of 2001, American spy satellites spotted missile parts being loaded into a Pakistani cargo plane near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The parts were assumed to be the quid pro quo for the nuclear technology.
Last spring, a few months after the deal was revealed in The New York Times, the State Department announced some sanctions against the Khan laboratory but cited the illegal missile transactions. The State Department said it had insufficient evidence to issue sanctions for a nuclear transfer, a move some dissenting officials suspected was a concession to avoid embarrassing General Musharraf, who had denied that any nuclear transfers ever occurred.
A Congressional report on the Pakistan-North Korea trade notes that over the years "Pakistan has been sanctioned in what some observers deem, an `on again, off again' fashion," mostly for importing technology for unconventional weapons, and later for its 1998 nuclear tests. Those sanctions, which were also issued against India, were waived shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when the United States suddenly needed Pakistan's cooperation.
It is unclear whether the Pakistan-North Korea connection has been cut off. But new evidence suggests that North Korea is still racing ahead. In April, a ship carrying a large cargo of superstrong aluminum tubing was stopped in the Suez Canal after the German authorities determined that it was destined for North Korea. The precise size of the tubes, according to Western diplomats and industry reports, suggested that they were intended for making the outer casings of G-2 centrifuges, the kind whose rotors are made of steel, and that Dr. Khan wrote about.
The CIA estimates that by 2005, if unchecked, North Korea will begin large-scale production of enriched uranium.
But so far, American intelligence agencies say they are uncertain where North Korea's centrifuge operations are. On Friday, North Korea said it would allow a delegation of American experts into the country this week.
Halting Nuclear Trades
Early in 2003, Mr. Bush established a coordinating group inside the White House to oversee the interception of shipments of unconventional weapons around the world. So far, Washington has drawn more than a dozen nations into a loose posse to track and stop shipments, and Germany, Italy, Taiwan and Japan have executed seizures.
But the first interceptions — and the trail of parts and agreements they reveal — have only pointed to the mushrooming size of the secondary market in parts.
Even more worrisome are the kinds of exchanges that do not move on ships and planes, what Ashton B. Carter, who worked in the Clinton administration on North Korean issues, calls "substantial technical cooperation among all members of the brotherhood of rogues."
North Korean engineers have been sighted living in Iran, ostensibly to help the country build medium- and long-range missiles. But the growing suspicion is that the relationship has now expanded beyond missiles, and that the two nations are warily dealing in the nuclear arena as well.
"We're debating the evidence," said one administration official.
The latest nuclear disclosures came after the United States spotted a German-registered ship headed for Libya through the Suez Canal, with thousands of parts for uranium centrifuges. The interception in October of that shipment, American officials say, tipped the balance for the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, forcing him to agree in December to disclose and dismantle his own nuclear program.
Inspectors are still investigating where Libya's components came from, focusing on manufacturers in Europe and what Dr. ElBaradei calls "interconnections" between the Libyan program and Iran's.
The intercepted shipment came from Dubai, a place of great importance in Dr. Khan's secretive world. It was a Dubai middleman claiming to represent Dr. Khan who in 1990, on the eve of the Persian Gulf war, offered Dr. Khan's aid to Iraq in building an atom bomb. And it was a Dubai middleman whom Dr. Khan blamed for supplying centrifuge parts to Iran, said a European confidante of Dr. Khan's who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Ties between Libya and Pakistan go back years. In 1973, when Pakistan was just starting its nuclear program, Libya signed a deal to help finance its atomic efforts in exchange for knowledge about how to make nuclear fuel, said Leonard S. Spector of the Monterey Institute of International Studies' Center for Nonproliferation Studies. From 1978 to 1980, he added, Libya appears to have supplied Pakistan with uranium ore. But Libya appears to have made much less progress than the Iranians had.
Dr. ElBaradei estimates that 35 to 40 nations now have the knowledge to build an atomic weapon. In place of the nonproliferation treaty, which he calls obsolete, he proposes revising the world's system to place any facilities that can manufacture fissile material under multinational control.
"Unless you are able to control the actual acquisition of weapon-usable material, you are not able to control proliferation," he said in recent interview. But Mr. Bush and the leaders of the other established nuclear states are reluctant to renegotiate a stronger treaty because it will reopen the question of why some states are permitted to hold nuclear weapons and others are not.
For now the world is left watching a terrifying race — one that pits scientists, middlemen and extremists against Western powers trying to intercept, shipload by shipload, the technology as it spreads through the clandestine network. Mr. Bush remains wary of cracking down on a fragile Pakistan, for fear pressure could tip the situation toward the radicals.
Some in the administration say they think other nations may follow Libya's calculations and abandon their programs voluntarily. But there are doubters.
"Its a fine theory," a top nonproliferation strategist in the administration said recently. "The question for 2004 is whether the mullahs or Kim Jong Il buy into it."
David Rohde contributed reporting from Pakistan for this article. SATRIBUNE 9 Jan 2004

posted by promila 8:15 AM

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