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Pakistan and Nuclear Dilemma

A.G. Noorani

By B.P. Sinha  and R.R. Subramanian
Vision Books, New Delhi, 1980, pp. 164, Rs. 55.00

VOLUME V NUMBER 1 July/August 1980

One of the most difficult topics in the field of nuclear diplomacy in South Asia is, surely, Pakistan's nuclear pro­gramme and its objectives. Documenta­tion is hard to come by, information is sparse and rumour rife. Dr. Sinha and Dr. Subramanian, both of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, have responded to the challenge ably. They describe Pakistan's nuclear programme over a quarter century from 1954 to 1979, discuss its objectives, and proceed to analyse the switch-over from the route of reprocessing of spent fuel for recovering plutonium to that of uranium enrichment. They sum up by consider­ing the implications of Pakistan's pro­gramme for the region. Although General Zia-ul-Haq has continued the programme, contrary to Z.A. Bhutto's accusation, it was Bhutto who, since his entry into the Cabinet of General Ayub Khan in 1958, ‘provided new content, direction and dimensions to the nuclear programme and policies of Pakistan.’ The opinion is fully sup­ported by the facts the authors mention which provide a good idea of the incep­tion and progress of the programme over the years. ‘Bhutto has claimed to have commis­sioned the famous American architect Edward Stone to build the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Techno­logy (PINSTECH) at Nelore near Islamabad, and laid its foundation stone. Bhutto negotiated with the USA and the IAEA for the supply of enriched uranium and plutonium for use in a 5 MW nuclear research reactor to be installed with the assistance of IAEA at PINSTECH. Ultimately, this US-sup­plied “swimming pool” type research re­actor was set up in PINSTECH in 1963 under IAEA safeguards ... In October 1967 the first batch of radio-isotope was produced in PINSTECH. ‘Shortly after India had secured an atomic power reactor from Canada, in 1962, Bhutto, as Minister of Industries, Natural Resources and Atomic Energy, pressed the National Economic Council's Executive Committee to accept the pro­posal to secure a nuclear power reactor from Canada. The PAEC started dis­cussions with Canada in 1962. In 1964 the proposal was submitted and in 1965 the agreement was signed. Canada granted a soft loan of $ 23 million and a credit of another $ 24 million to cover the foreign exchange cost of the plant. Japan gave a credit of $ 3.6 million for the turbo-generator and its installation. A number of Pakistanis were fully train­ed in Canada and they returned to Pakistan in December 1968 to commis­sion and start the Karachi Nuclear Power Project (KANUPP) ...

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