N. Korea’s Nuclear Test and India


By: Parveen Kaswan (Follow for more updates)

Now it is confirmed that North Korea had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test, by  Korean Central News Agency.  According to KCNA it used a “miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously”. That also means they are close to the capability of putting this system into Ballistic Missile. As a matter of fact even many countries had already  detected the test as seismic activity centered near the same location where the North conducted tests in 2006 and 2009. According to the  United States Geological Survey it was only a kilometer underground, an indication consistent with a nuclear blast.

North korea map

Now in a quick response US and UN are coming forward with new sanctions against N. Korea.1  But the fact is that there are few sanctions left to apply against the most unpredictable country in Asia. The sanction which will work will be when North would be  cutoff of oil and other aid from China. But  for that we have to wait and watch.

Due to this move by North Korea we don’t see any direct implication on India but of course there will be some indirect effects. India and North Korea established diplomatic relations way back in 1973 and have maintained embassies in each other’s capitals. Many North Koreans receive training annually in India in diverse fields, including IT and science and technology.  However, the relations never blossomed due to North Korea’s closed system and its ties with the military leadership in Pakistan that extended to covert nuclear tie-ups.  India also sees North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and its covert nuclear programme as a threat to regional security.  Faced with having a weakened economy during the 1990s and China’s reluctance to face Western pressure about selling its M-11 missiles, Pakistan sought an alternate supplier. In this case, this was North Korea.

In 1999, India impounded North Korean vessel MV Ku Wol San off Kandla port and found that it was carrying 177 tonnes of missile components, blueprints and manuals.2  On the other hand Pakistan had been accused by US officials of having secretly supplying North Korea with nuclear technology for military purposes. U.S. officials have worried for decades about the potential involvement of elements of Pakistan’s military in illicit nuclear proliferation, partly because terrorist groups in the region and governments of other countries are eager to acquire an atomic bomb or the capacity to build one.

North Korea’s assistance to Pakistan in the development of its missile capability has been as a quid pro quo for the latter’s assistance to North Korea in the development of its military nuclear capability. For many years, Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineers had  worked in North Korea and North Korean missile experts in Pakistan.  So in short the increased cash flow into Pakistan from the USA, the European Union and Japan has enabled the military regime to pay for the North Korean missiles and related technology in hard currency.3

According to Rajeev Sharma, of The South Asia Analysis Group “India’s interests in North Korea cannot be over-emphasized,” he wrote. “Indian interests in North Korea have to begin and end with China. It is China, after all, that has been pursuing a… a strategy of encircling India. China’s close strategic friends are well known, all of whom have been nations like Pakistan, Myanmar and North Korea. Pakistan is currently in a snake pit, has a rapidly deteriorating economy and a tinder box political situation domestically. Myanmar has suffered UN sanctions for decades and has been an iron country for decades sitting in the kangaroo pouch of China. Now Myanmar is showing signs of liberating itself from the clutches of the Chinese and has hosted Hillary Clinton recently. This leaves out only the North Koreans from the list of trusted and tested friends of the Chinese in half a century. If North Korea were to extend an olive branch to the Americans, a scenario that is not unlikely, it will bring the Chinese cup of strategic woes to the brim. And the Indians would not be complaining!

But as a fact when the North Koreans decided to test, they clearly did so without a Chinese permit and it really frosted the Chinese because it threatened to prompt Japan and South Korea to start their own programs. They didn’t worry about terrorism at all.4

Being a responsible country India in 2010 responded to North Korea’s request for food aid and made available to it 1300 tonnes of pulses and wheat worth $1 million through the UN World Food Programme In May 2009.5

India was quick to condemn the nuclear test conducted by North Korea and voiced its concerns about its adverse impact on peace and security in the region. The success, after years of attempts, triggered worries among world leaders about nuclear weapons, including India and the balance of power in the Pacific.

(Comments will be greatly appreciated)


1.North Korea conducts third nuclear test, sparks condemnation: Reuters accessed on 12th Feb, 2013.
2.Is China behind Musen’s intrusion to Indian Waters? : www.globalpolitician.com, Reuters accessed on 12th Feb, 2013.
3. THE PAKISTAN–NORTH KOREA MISSILE NEXUS : www.indiadefence.com, accessed on 12th Feb, 2013.
4. Why China Helped Countries Like Pakistan, North Korea Build Nuclear Bomb : usnews.com, accessed on 12th Feb, 2013.
5. India Gives Food Aid as U.S.-SK Think : www.dailynk.com, accessed on 12th Feb, 2013.


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