Cablegate: Embassy New Delhi
OO RUEHBC RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHNEH
RUEHPW RUEHSL RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNE #1797/01 2391300
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 271300Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7831
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNNSG/NUCLEAR SUPPLIERS GROUP COLLECTIVE
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0272
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1786
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8414
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 001797
ISN/CATR FOR MICHAEL ROLLERI
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2019 TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP ETTC IN IR SY
REF: A. STATE 86122 B. STATE 53015 C. STATE 53356
Classified By: Political Counselor Uzra Zeya for Reasons 1.4 (B and D)
1. This is an action request; see paragraphs 4, 6 and 8.
2. (S) SUMMARY. Ministry of External Affairs Technology Unit Director Sandeep Arya said India would investigate the proposed sale of the SCOMET-controlled explosive RDX to a Syrian entity (ref A), and requested further details. Pressed on the status of two long-pending export control cases (refs B and C), Arya offered updates and requested further information. Arya, whose new office focuses on export controls, expressed an interest in learning more about Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) sanctions as a possible model for similar Indian legislation. END SUMMARY.
India to Investigate Proposed RDX Shipment to Syria - - -
3. (C) PolCouns delivered ref A demarche August 19 to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Joint Secretary for the Americas Gaitri Kumar, who agreed to pass it to the appropriate officials for action. Noting that we often do not receive replies on such cases for weeks or months -- if ever -- PolCouns asked that special attention be given to this case. PolOff followed up on ref A demarche August 20 with MEA Technology Unit Director Sandeep Arya, the MEAs only dedicated official working on export control issues. (Note: Established earlier this year, the Technology Unit is being incubated within the MEAs Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division (DISA) prior to its eventual launch as a separate division. End Note.) Arya said he would have to follow an inter-agency coordination process before conveying an official response, but shared his views informally.
4. (S) Arya agreed that 500 tons of RDX was a "huge" quantity, and confirmed that RDX was included on Indias Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies (SCOMET) list of dual use and sensitive items whose export is prohibited without appropriate end-user certification. He also confirmed that the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a large public enterprise with extensive ties to the Indian Armed Forces, was aware of the SCOMET process and had filed SCOMET applications in the past, but that OFB has not yet submitted a SCOMET application for this proposed transaction. Arya said there was "no way" OFB would proceed with such a sale without going through the SCOMET process. Nevertheless, he confessed to being "surprised" OFB would invite a Syrian delegation to discuss the sale without first confirming whether RDX was on the SCOMET list. He said he would make sure the case was investigated, but cautioned that the process often took several weeks. He requested further information about another Indian firm involved in the discussion described in ref A as "MKU Pvt. Ltd.," which would help the Indian Government in its investigation.
5. (C) As an aside, Arya expressed an interest in learning more about the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) sanctions. As the head of a fairly new office, he was engaged in a review of Indias export control policies and laws. He was interested in INKSNA as a possible model for similar Indian legislation.
Update on Outstanding Export Control Cases - - -
6. (S) Pressed on the status of two long-pending export control cases, Arya offered updates and requested further information that he said would help the Indian Government move its process forward. Arya said there was still "action" but so far no "conclusion" on the Hind High Vacuum Companys transfer of a sample capacitance diaphragm gauge to an individual associated with Irans nuclear program (ref B).
Arya recalled that the sample gauge was very small in size and may have been delivered "through the mail bypassing proper shipment procedures." Arya requested three additional pieces of information. First, who was the "consignee" in Jakarta? Second, is there any information about further shipments, i.e. did the recipient place a follow-on order? Third, what is the application of the gauge and how is it used? Specifically, why was it not controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) if it had dual-use applications?
7. (S) With regard to the proposed shipment of high density graphite by Nickunj Eximp Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. to Irans Ward Chemical Company (ref C), Arya said the case was proceeding through a "legal process, which takes time." The SCOMET list caps the quantity of exportable nuclear-grade graphite, but Arya indicated he is reviewing the cap with a view toward raising it. He said technology had evolved to such a degree that nuclear grade graphite was often a cheaper alternative for a wide variety of legitimate industrial applications. He said this issue was not unique to India, but rather should be taken up by the NSG and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
COMMENT - - -
8. (SBU) Post intends to cultivate Arya as a welcome addition in a key role at MEA. MEAs prior lack of responsiveness on export control issues may have had at least as much to do with a lack of adequate staff and resources as reluctance to cooperate on these shared concerns. The conclusion of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement has also led to increased cooperation from Indias nonproliferation bureaucrats. Arya shared that the Ministry was aware of its resource constraints and was considering how best to develop a dedicated cadre of diplomats with expertise on nonproliferation in a manner similar to the Ministrys regional specialists. In addition to the specific information on the pending cases requested in paras 4 and 6, Post would be grateful for any further detail about INKSNA that can be shared with Arya.