New Delhi, Feb 17 : Nuclear scientists from the DRDO reached Kandla port in Gujarat on Monday to inspect a Chinese ship carrying a machine used to launch ballistic missiles which has been detained there.
The ship enroute Port Qasim in Karachi was trying to pass on an autoclave as an industrial dryer.
A team from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have found that the autoclave was used to make the composite lining for solid-fuel ballistic missiles. Now nuclear scientists have been rushed in to study the autoclave. If their findings corroborate with that of the first team, the autoclave will be seized.
"The commercial ship had a Hong Kong flag and was carrying a machine that is used to launch ballistic missiles," sources said.
The ship was intercepted on February 3 when it halted at the Kandla Port during its onward journey from Jiangyin Port in China. Indian customs officials found the consignment after properly monitoring the ship.
Sources further pointed out that the autoclave -- 18x4 metre in dimension -- found in the vessel was actually a pressure chamber that can be used for both civilian -- scientific and industrial -- and military purposes.
If The vessel's owners could be charged for violating the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (Scomet) export rules.
The Ministry of External Affairs has refused to comment on the matter.
The vessel named 'Da Cui Yun' had left China for Karachi on January 17.
The port where it was headed in Pakistan is near to the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, which developed Pakistan's nuclear technologies.