Intelligence agencies along with teams of Customs and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Kandla port in Kutch Gandhidham are inspecting a Chinese merchant vessel which was bound for Karachi in Pakistan, suspecting it to be carrying an “autoclave” equipment, which can be used for both industrial and military purposes.
Investigative officials suspect that the equipment found on the vessel might be designed to be used in the aerospace industry to manufacture ballistic missiles.
According to officials of the customs department, the cargo vessel ‘Da Cui Yin’ has been stationed at Deendayal Port also known as Kandla Port since February 3 this year, after customs flagged it for suspected cargo and the vessel’s no objection certificate to travel via Indian waters to Karachi port was cancelled.
“Our teams are conducting inspection of the vessel and till now nothing conclusive have been found,” said an official statement from the office of assistant commissioner of customs stationed at Kandla Port.
However, sources said that investigating officials have found an equipment resembling an autoclave, when utilised in military technology, can be used to manufacture ballistic missiles.
Officials from the Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) on Tuesday said that the cargo vessel that reached Kandla on February 3 has been shifted from the cargo berth to an anchorage point within the port. The vessel had sailed from port of Jaingyin, People’s Republic of China on January 17, 2020, and was detained by the customs department due to “suspected cargo” on February 3.
DPT issued a no-objection certificate to the vessel on February 7, which officials said was headed for Karachi in Pakistan. The Indian Express on February 11, reported that the shipping agent DBC and Sons had cancelled the NoC provided to the vessel instead of presenting it to the customs for port clearances. Officials said the lack of clearance from the customs department forced the agents to cancel their NoC and return to the port.
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