Pakistan and China Saturday strongly denied and condemned allegations by India that the seized Pakistan commercial equipment by New Delhi was a dual-use consignment with implications for Pakistan’s nuclear and ballistic missiles program.

Indian media reports say that the detained ship was later allowed to sail to Pakistan. “These reports are reflective of Indian media’s habitual misrepresentation of facts. This is a simple case of import of a commercial lathe machine by a Karachi-based commercial entity, which supplies parts to the automobile industry in Pakistan. “Specifications of the equipment clearly indicate its purely commercial use. The transaction was being conducted through transparent banking channels with all relevant documentation. The relevant private entities are pursuing the matter against the unjustified seizure,” said Spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch when asked about the Indian media reports.

She added that Pakistan condemns India’s high-handedness in seizure of commercial goods. “This disruption of free trade underscores the dangers inherent in arbitrary assumption of policing roles by states with dubious credentials. Such acts also highlight the growing impunity of certain states in violating international norms and taking arbitrary measures in violation of international law,” she said.

Indian media reports said that security agencies at Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port intercepted and seized the consignment of a Karachi-bound ship from China after it was found carrying a dual-use consignment with implications for Pakistan’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, officials said on Saturday.

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said “The ship was detained in India’s Kandla Port on Feb. 3 when the autoclave was confiscated on the basis of an intelligence tip-off,” according to Indian officials quoted in the press. The ship was then allowed to continue to Pakistan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, according to reports, disputed the Indian description of the seized machine and said it was a heat-treating furnace, not an autoclave. Zhao said that the furnace “is by no means a piece of military equipment or a dual-use item,” and therefore not subject to nonproliferation export controls.

He said that the machine was produced by a private company in China and was declared correctly. “As a responsible major country, China has been strictly fulfilling the international nonproliferation obligations and international commitments,” he said.

It is expected that the Pakistan Foreign Office will summon a senior Indian diplomat and issue a demarche on the “unjustified seizure” of a Pakistani ship, he added.

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