Islamabad: Notorious for extra-territorial killing as Canada accuses, India under Narendra Modi also poses a threat to global peace for increasing incidents of uranium theft in the country.
Over 200 kilograms of nuclear material have been stolen during the past two decades in India.
Experts have urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to place a strict surveillance system over radio-active materials in India. The alarm is also called for because one of the arrested persons with uranium substance from Nepal recently claimed that her father-in-law had “brought the material from India, where he worked in a uranium mine.”
The experts asked whether Indian and western media would have remained silent had someone arrested elsewhere with radioactive materials. At least 20 incidents of nuclear material theft and loss were reported in India from 1994 to 2021. This indicates that India has emerged as a potential hotspot in illegal trade of N-technology and materials, they said.
In February, eight people including two Indian nationals, were apprehended in Nepal for illegally possessing and attempting to sell a “uranium like substance.” The material was reportedly smuggled from India. This was not just a one-off incident; theft and illegal sale of nuclear and radioactive material in India is a recurring phenomenon. Earlier in May 2021, reports of the seizure of 7 kilograms of highly radioactive uranium, worth 210 million Indian rupees, from a scrap dealer raised serious concerns about India’s nuclear security capabilities.
Over the past two decades, more than 200 kilograms of nuclear and radioactive material has reportedly disappeared from Indian facilities. Frequent incidents of loss and theft of nuclear and radioactive materials in India indicate the failure of the nuclear security system at multiple levels.
There seems to be a gap in the material accounting and control system. As per international practices and guidelines, each facility from uranium mines to enrichment facilities and reactors is supposed to have a stringent material accounting and control system to ensure that not even an iota of material is left unaccounted.
The recurrence of nuclear security lapses with such impunity indicates serious issues with the nuclear security culture in India. Any country developing a civilian or military nuclear program is required to have a robust regulatory system and infrastructure in place but all this seems lacking in India, posing the risk of Indian nuclear weapons falling in the hands of Hindutva terrorists.