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Russia helped India's nuke programme: CIA

Press Trust of India

Posted: Jan 09, 2003 at 1106 hrs IST

Russia has significantly supported in developing India's nuclear programmes with technology and equipment, and become a main source of arms for the country, the CIA has said.

Besides, it has been helping China and Iran among others with infrastructure for nuclear projects, ballistic missile-related goods, training on biological and chemical weapons and defence-related exports, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says in its semi-annual report.

Russia's cash-strapped defence, biotechnology, chemical, aerospace and nuclear industries, are eager to raise funds via exports and transfers, the CIA says.

In addition, some Russian universities and scientific institutes have shown a willingness to earn much-needed funds by providing weapons of mass destruction or missile-related teaching and training for foreign students.

President Putin in May 2000 amended the presidential decree on nuclear exports to allow Russia to export nuclear materials, technology and equipment to countries that do not have full-scope IAEA safeguards. And it supplied India, that do not have full-scale safeguards, with material for its civilian (nuclear) progamme in 2001," it says.

Russia also continues to be the main supplier of technology and equipment to India's and China's naval nuclear propulsion programmes and has layed a key role in supporting civilian nuclear programmes in Iran, primarily the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant project, it says.

Given the large potential proliferation impact of such exports, transfers and training, says the CIA, monitoring of the activities of specific entities as well as the overall effectiveness of the Russian Government's nonproliferation regime remains a high priority.

In addition, Russia has discussed leasing nuclear-powered attack submarines to India, the CIA says.

Russian entities, it says, during 2001 supplied a variety of ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to countries such as Iran, India and China.

Besides, Russia was the primary source of advanced conventional weapons for China, Iran, Libya and Sudan, and one of the largest sources for India in 2001, it says.

Also, during that period, Russian entities remained a significant source of dual-use biotechnology, chemicals, production technology and equipment for Iran.

Iran's earlier success in gaining technology and materials from Russian entities has helped to accelerate Iranian development of the Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missile, and continuing Russian entity assistance most likely supports Iranian efforts to develop new missiles and increase Tehran's self-sufficiency in missile production.

Russia's biological and chemical expertise makes it an attractive target for Iranians seeking technical information and training on biological and chemical weapons agent production processes, it notes.

Following Moscow's abrogation of the Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement in November 2000, Russian officials stated that they see Iran as a significant source of potential revenue from arms sales and believe that Tehran can become Russia's third largest conventional arms customer after China and India.

Despite progress in creating a legal and bureaucratic framework for Russia's export controls, lax enforcement and insufficient penalties for violations "remain a serious concern" to the United States, the CIA says.

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