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Two Indian cos tried to sell dual-use products to Syria: Wikileaks

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 03, 2011
First Published: 21:47 IST(3/2/2011) | Last Updated: 21:56 IST(3/2/2011)
The US had alerted India that Syria was trying to buy products from two Indian firms that could have been used in making chemical and biological weapons, secret cables posted by whistle-blowing site Wikipedia has revealed.
 
The products—glass-lined reactors, heat exchangers and pumps—were to be bought from two Indian firms, Goel Scientific Glass Works and Garg Scientific Glass Industries, are respectively located in Vadodara and Mumbai.
 
The December 12, 2008 memo said. “While they have legitimate commercial uses, glass or glass-lined chemical reactor vessels, heat exchangers and pumps can be used in the production of CW (chemical warfare) agents.”
 
“We are concerned that the equipment in question is intended for, or could be diverted to, Syria’s CW programme.”
 
Syrian Scientific Research Council (SSRC)—the body that ordered the products is believed to be a key entity behind Syria's chemical and biological warfare programme.
 
The two firms had probably hosted the SSRC representatives in mid-September 2008 to finalize the contracts, the cables said.
 
The memo to the Indian government was sent by Condoleezza Rice, the then US secretary of state Condoleezza, and requested action to stop the sale. It said: “We therefore request that the Indian government take all steps necessary to investigate this matter and prevent Syria from acquiring dual-use items.”
 
In the backdrop of its reported chemical warfare and other such programmes of proliferation besides support to terrorist organizations, Rice expressed concern that “Syria is an unreliable destination for dual-use exports, and Syrian end-user statements or other assurances are neither credible nor trustworthy.”
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