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India’s uranium seizure

An unusual incident occurred last week when two men were arrested in the Indian state of Maharastra carrying seven kilogrammes of the highly-radioactive uranium. This has raised grave concerns over the illegal trade of proscribed and dangerous substances in the country.

Pakistan was quick to raise concern over the uranium seizure from unauthorized persons in India and called for an investigation into how the substances landed in their hands. It is the responsibility of nuclear states to safeguard their arsenal and strictly regulate the supply of nuclear substances. The seizure is certainly a lapse by Indian authorities which must be thoroughly investigated.

The incident happened when India’s Anti-Terrorist Squad received a tip-off and arrested two men with a rather unusual find – over 7kgs of uranium worth over Rs21 crores. The value in the global market is more than Rs300 crores and the suspects were looking for a buyer. They had attempted to test the substances before they were arrested. The uranium has been handed over to Babha nuclear plant and India’s top investigative agency CBI has taken over the case.

This is not the first time that uranium has been seized from unauthorized persons in India. In 2014, two men were held with 9 kgs of substances but the matter was brushed aside without any investigation. This time around, India will once again attempt to circumvent any detailed investigation before it is exposed as a lucrative market for radioactive and nuclear substances.

India and Pakistan are some of the few countries that are not signatories of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This doesn’t exclude them from controlling the illicit trade of these substances. Despite grave concerns of the international community, Pakistan has strongly safeguarded its nuclear arsenal from falling in the wrong hands. The military is well equipped to protect our nuclear assets from being targeted by terrorists or the enemy.

Now it is India’s responsibility to protect its arsenal and crackdown on the black market for nuclear substances. There is a high probability that global terror groups such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda can get them off the market and use them for terrorism causing carnage and affecting millions of lives. The global community should investigate the matter and hold India responsible before there is any major attack.