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Pakistan Demands Probe Into Uranium Sales In India

Pakistan has expressed its deep concern over illicit sales of uranium in India, which show lax controls, poor regularity and enforcement mechanisms as well as possible existence of black market for nuclear materials inside India.

In a statement on Friday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, “We have seen the reports about yet another incident of attempted illegal sale of six kilogrammes of uranium in India. Similar incident involving seven kilogrammes of uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past are a matter of deep concern.”

The spokesperson said the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the International Atomic Energy Agency Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material make it binding on states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into wrong hands.

Chaudhri said that Pakistan reiterates its call for thorough investigation of such incidents and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials to prevent their diversion.

He said it is equally important to ascertain the intent and ultimate use of the attempted Uranium sale given its relevance to international peace and security as well as the sanctity of the global non-proliferation regime.

Earlier on Thursday, police in Indian Jharkhand state arrested seven people for possessing and planning to sell ‘mineral uranium’ in the black market, according to The Indian Express.

Police said that they seized 6.4 kg of ‘uranium mineral’ from two of the accused. According to the court records and the FIR, a senior police officer in Bokaro received a ‘tip’ on June 2 that five people – Deepak Mahato, Pankaj Kumar, Mahabir Mahato, M Sharma, and Krishna Kant – had ‘gathered together’ and were planning to ‘illegally sell prohibited mineral uranium in the black market’.

It is the third time in India that such a highly radioactive substance has been seized by police in recent years. In 2016, police seized almost 9 kg (19.8 lbs) of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra. Uranium is used in several areas, including nuclear explosives and medical techniques.

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Naya Daur