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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Two Indians arrested in alleged uranium smuggling

The theft and smuggling of fissile material in India during the last two decades is concerning and necessitates action from the global community

The Nepali Police apprehended eight people in an alleged case of Uranium smuggling and illegal trading of the substance. Two Indian nationals, identified as Upendra Kumar Mishra and Raju Thakur, were among the eight that were arrested.

The arrests were made when the Nepali police recovered a “uranium-like substance” from a car in the parking lot of a five-star hotel on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Kathmandu.

Police arrested two individuals from the parked vehicle and followed it up with arrests of six others, based on the information furnished by the initial arrests. The substance was allegedly brought to Nepal from India and was meant to be sold in the black market for around Rs. 350 million per kg.

Read more: Is India’s uranium theft endangering the world?

The theft and smuggling of fissile material in India during the last two decades is concerning and necessitates action from the global community, which has turned a blind eye to the country’s irresponsible behavior. The theft and smuggling of nuclear material poses a serious threat to the region’s security and strategic stability and exponentially increases the risk of nuclear terrorism.

According to a research paper issued by a Pakistani think tank, SASSI, 18 cases of nuclear theft from India have been reported from 1994 to 2021. Moreover, a significant uptick of such incidents was reported in recent years, especially in 2021, which recorded multiple cases of nuclear material theft from India. Such incidents point to lax control, poor regulation, and incompetence on part of the regulatory and the enforcement authority.

Additionally, India has consistently violated United Nations Security Resolutions and has failed to uphold the International Atomic Energy Agency’s conventions regarding the physical protection of nuclear material.

Pakistan has repeatedly called for the international community to ensure nuclear safety and security standards in its neighboring country, which has emerged as a hotspot for such activities in recent years.

Read more: 6 kg illegal uranium caught once more in India

Pakistan marks its shift from a traditional security paradigm to a nontraditional one focused on geoeconomics and enhancement of its trade and connectivity with all partners in the region, but such incidents stall any confidence-building measures and pose a hindrance for the peace and stability in the region. Thus, it is of utmost importance to curb such incidents or witness an eternal arms race in the South Asian region.