|HOME | NEWS | THE KARGIL CRISIS | REPORT|
July 8, 1999
Authorities confirm N Korean ship's deadly cargo
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Government officials today confirmed that the North Korean ship detained at Kandla port was carrying vital components of Pyongyang's hi-tech Nodong I ballistic missile.
"The North Korean ambassador's denial that the Ku-Wol-San did not carry any missile parts will not wash. Our defence experts have already scrutinised the cargo and we are quite sure about our findings. However, further cross-checking is on to make our case watertight," a senior official at the ministry of external affairs pointed out.
Ministry of defence officials, meanwhile, pointed out that it was not surprising that the 44-member crew of the North Korean ship had assaulted Indian officials including the Kutch Superintendent of Police A K Singh because "their cat was out of the bag."
They said when Indian officials, including experts of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, tried to examine the cargo, crew members pounced on them. However, they were later overpowered and placed under arrest in their cabins.
When the North Korean embassy was informed of this development, a senior embassy official rushed to Kandla in an attempt to sort out the matter. However, he was informed that the ship would be detained.
Officials said it had been pointed out to the North Korean crew that the machinery found on the ship was specifically meant to build missiles.
In this context, the heavy duty presses for flattening and milling high grade steel sheets, the digital Macron soldering machine and refining and filtration machinery were displayed to the crew who reportedly expressed their ignorance about them.
It was also pointed out that despite the North Korean protestations of innocence, the authorities were proceeding in the matter strictly in accordance with the law and that there was no scope for foul play.
However, the officials did not divulge how the authorities at the Kandla port had got wind of the controversial cargo.
Asked to establish the North Korean link with Pakistan's missile programme as the scrutiny of the cargo in Kandla had indicated, the officials pointed out that the Research and Analysis Wing's reports had established such a link with external inputs.
It was emphasised that following Pakistan's Ghauri missile test, the North Korean connection in Islamabad's missile programme had become clear. Since Pakistan wanted a short-range (150 km) missile to counter India's Prithvi it simply ordered them from the North Korean arsenal, albeit in a dismantled form.
According to senior MEA officials, North Korea is heavily involved with ballistic missile production with China and Iran. They referred to the reports of the Japan Defence Agency which revealed that Pyongyang's Nodong I ballistic missiles were being sold to Teheran as well as Islamabad. They pointed out that the Pyongyang-Islamabad missile connection had surfaced in early 1995 after these missiles had been tested and were operationalised.
It was pointed out that non-missile support was provided by the Sangui General Automotive Factory where the transporter-erector-launcher for tactical ballistic missiles were made, using Russian MAZ-543 components and other parts from European companies.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK