M A I N   N E W S

Albright report builds case against India 
Calls India a proliferator

Washington, March 19
Former weapons inspector in Iraq, Mr David Albright, has sought to portray India as a proliferator at a time when the US Congress is considering legislation on allowing civilian nuclear trade with the country.

Mr Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), recently released a report challenging the basic US argument that India has such an impeccable record of protecting technology that it can be trusted with the US and other foreign nuclear material.

The report accuses India of being a proliferator that circumvents other countries' export controls and leaks sensitive technology in procuring materials for its nuclear programmes.

However, the charges that Mr Albright now makes against India sound similar to those made two years ago by Mr Khidir Hamza, an Iraqi engineer, who supposedly worked on Iraq's nuclear programme before defecting to the West. Mr Hamza later joined the ISIS.

In 2002, Mr Hamza testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying New Delhi was exporting nuclear technology.

According to a report in the British newspaper, The Guardian, Mr Hamza, in a testimony before the US Senate, said: ''Iraq is using corporations in India and other countries to import the needed equipment for its programme and channel it through countries like Malaysia for shipment to Iraq''.

Mr Hamza also cited German intelligence as saying, ''with more than 10 tonnes of uranium and one tonne of slightly enriched uranium in its possession, Iraq has enough to generate the needed bomb-grade uranium for three nuclear weapons by 2005''.

His testimony was widely reported in the media. Mr Hamza, however, was considered by many to be an unreliable source because later events disapproved his contentions about Iraq's nuclear programmes and WMD.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, after Mr Hamza defected, Mr Albright, president of the ISIS where Mr Hamza worked as an analyst from 1997 to 1999, had said : ''He went off the edge and started saying irresponsible things.'' In his report, co-authored by researcher Susan Basu, Mr Albright says when India seeks bids for nuclear-related equipment, it allows prospective suppliers to buy blueprints and manufacturing instructions for a particular item.

Company officials can then sell the item or related technology to other customers. '' That's what we think is new, that you could go buy some centrifuge design information through the Indian procurement system,'' Mr Albright said. UNI 


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