India on Tuesday sought a probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages and demanded that those responsible for it should be held accountable, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s remarks came after North Korea fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday.
It follows North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 which was in direct defiance of United Nations sanctions and other international pressure.
“External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj deplored North Korea’s recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable,” the ministry’s spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference.
Swaraj’s remarks came as she met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Monday on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session.
Though there was no direct reference to Pakistan in her remarks, it came amid reports that Pyongyang had clandestinely received nuclear enrichment technology from Pakistan when A Q Khan was at the helm of Islamabad’s nuclear programme.
Responding to questions, Kumar did not specify the country, but said the hints were enough to determine that.
“I think I am giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about,” he said.
“We have very clearly mentioned that we not only deplore North Korea’s recent actions but also stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable,” Kumar said.
In addition to proliferation, the three leaders discussed the issue of maritime security and connectivity.
“Three broad issues were discussed -- maritime security connectivity and proliferation. We have spelled out what these heads mean on security the ministers emphasised the need to ensure freedom of navigation respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he said.
“On connectivity, there was discussion on how to base them on universally recognised international norms prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Kumar said.
The first trilateral ministerial meeting between the three countries was held in 2015. Senior official level meeting has been taking place since 2011.
Image: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono attends the India-US-Japan Trilateral Foreign Ministerial Meeting in New York. Photograph: MEAIndia/Flickr