Senior U.S. Congress members, led by Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Sub-committee on Strategic Forces, and Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, have warned the Obama Administration that China is supplying super sensitive nuclear weapons systems to Pakistan which could pose a threat to the national security of the United States and other nations like India.
The U.S. Congressmen reportedly said that they are specifically alarmed over the supply of Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) systems, which would provide instant mobility to Pakistan’s medium range nuclear ballistic missiles like the Shaheen III. The Pakistan Army successfully conducted a training launch of the Ghauri medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) fired from the transporter erector launcher from Tilla Test Range in Jhelum District in 2015. Ever since it has been in the market for several TEL systems.
Pakistan Army already uses Chinese origin 8×8 transporter erector launchers similar to the Russian MAZ-543/MAZ-7310. US Congressmen have cautioned that availability of more such mobility vehicles would provide Pakistan’s nuclear command with far reaching powers to strike anywhere in South Asia, including in Afghanistan and India and on targets that affect U.S. national security interests in the region. The two leading Congressmen have reportedly asked the Obama Administration to spell out what steps Washington will take to ensure that China halts the supply of such lethal systems to Pakistan. This matter is being viewed seriously by the U.S. Congress, as it proves, that China continues to secretly assist in Pakistan’s ballistic missile program by providing mobility to the nuclear missiles that would target “nations who are close friends of the United States, including India.
“ Congressional sources said that while China and Pakistan have cooperated on military technology for decades and Beijing had announced in 2013 that it would be assisting with the construction of nuclear power plants in Karachi, the extent of Chinese cooperation in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has always been a subject of speculation. According to news agency reports, the U.S. Government has had its suspicions that China has assisted Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, and this move to transfer more Transporter Erector Launchers (TEL), confirms China’s ongoing hand in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.
Pakistan is the largest recipient of Chinese weapons and Pakistan in turn provides Beijing with assistance in containing militants in China’s western province. The supply of mobile launchers for the Shaheen III Missile is a direct threat to India, added well placed sources. Beijing has also shown its hand in nuclear proliferation, which could trigger American sanctions against China, said Congressional sources. Senior U.S. Congressmen have called upon the Obama Administration to investigate this matter and if it is proven that China did supply the mobile launchers to Pakistan for the Shaheen nuclear missiles, then it ought to be sanctioned by Washington.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump is picking up this call by the two leading Republican Congressmen –Mike Rogers and Ted Poe –. In his speeches, Trump has drawn attention to China’s ‘devious track record’ in nuclear material matters and the fact that Beijing has actively assisted Islamabad in its nuclear program in violation of global and United Nations norms. Trump has been calling for firm action against China and, if this illicit nuclear relationship is confirmed by the U.S. Government, then by law, it will have to impose economic and other sanctions on Beijing. U.S. sources said that in the days to come this issue would become a political battle between Republican and the Democratic candidates, with each side seeking answers from the Obama administration.