Pakistan condemns India for seizing cargo from China in fresh round of tensions

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Pakistan hit out at India for detaining cargo bound for the country that New Delhi suspects was meant for Islamabad’s weapons program, a development that could spark a fresh round of tensions between the South Asian rivals.

Indian media reported on the weekend that a shipment en route to Karachi in Pakistan was seized by Indian customs officials on January 23 at the port city of Mumbai. The cargo originating from China contained equipment that could help Pakistan’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Press Trust of India and others said.

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A senior Indian government official, who asked not to be identified in order to discuss the matter, confirmed that India seized the cargo containing advanced computer numerical machines — technology that uses a computer program to control mechanical tools. India suspected the equipment could be used for Pakistan’s weapons manufacturing program, the person said.

Relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have been hostile since both gained independence from British rule in 1947, and Muslim-majority Pakistan was created. Their tensions center on the border region of Kashmir, an area in the Himalayas claimed in full — and ruled in part — by both. They’ve fought two of their three wars over control of the region.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry declined to comment. Pakistan denied the Indian media reports and lashed out at what it described as “India’s high handedness in seizure of commercial goods.”

“Specifications of the equipment clearly indicate its purely commercial use,” and was meant for a Karachi-based automobile parts manufacturing unit, Pakistan’s government said in a statement. The seizure violates international norms and laws, it added.

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