US Begs India To Reduce Engagements with North Korea

US Begs India To Reduce Engagements with North Korea

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Having imposed sanctions on certain Chinese entities, Washington is now urging and pressing its friends like Germany, France and India to cut back on engagement with North Korea. It is becoming difficult for America to control North Korea because of China and Russia, neither of whom really want to cooperate with the US at present. North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile once again on Friday that it claimed has the range to hit major US cities, prompting a fresh round of condemnation from the US and other countries.

The US is clearly finding it very difficult to deal with this intransigent nation which has advanced its technological prowess despite being under UN and US sanctions. But the Trump Administration is looking at this differently.
A US delegation from the State Department visited New Delhi this week to request how India could plug all exposure to North Korea. Among various things, the Americans even begged India to limit and scale back its diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang.

Sources said the US wanted India to help to look for North Korean activity in the Indian sub-continent. Responding to UN resolutions, the Indian govt has already banned all trade except food and medicines with N Korea.
Officials say they are being put on the defensive as India is the third largest trading partner for N Korea. While the US and China negotiate a new resolution on North Korea as Pyongyang flouts sanctions with impunity, countries like India are coming under American attention to do more to contain the reclusive nation. India’s exports to North Korea is about $110 million and in 2016, officials said, there was an over 30% drop in bilateral trade. China, North Korea’s largest trading partner, on the other hand, registered a rise in trade.

Through an official gazette on April 21, the Modi government prohibited Indian citizens or companies from supplying to Pyongyang arms, any nuclear-related material or technology, or any other material that would enhance its ballistic-missile capabilities. India’s relationship with North Korea is a remnant of its non-aligned past. But in recent years, India has highlighted the proliferation problem from North Korea. New Delhi sees a complex web of sharing of nuclear and missile technology between China, Pakistan and North Korea, something that is well documented.

Sources said the US wanted India to help to look for North Korean activity in the Indian sub-continent, which could be illicit activity under the garb of legitimate trade and suspicious movements of its people.

At the recent G-20 summit in Hamburg, which took place under the shadow of Pyongyang’s ICBM test of July 4, sources said 18 out of 20 countries issued strong statements condemning the test.

India said it was a threat to international peace. “North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear& ballistic missile programmes and proliferation links pose grave threat to international peace.They also impacted India’s national security, call upon North Korea to refrain from such actions that undermine international peace,” MEA said.

The two countries who did not condemn the tests were South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest allies. Recent reports suggest that there are thousands of North Koreans working in the Gulf states like UAE and Qatar.

Some other reports also point to UAE’s purchases of weapons from North Korea. All these countries are very close to the US, despite the current crisis in the Gulf.

However, Indians have been alerted to the possibility that North Korean cyber-criminals (apparently under guidance of the state) might be targeting India’s IT sector, in terms of hacking or inserting malware. Nobody seems to have detailed evidence.

But a private threat intelligence company called Recorded Future released a study recently in which it said, “There are significant physical and virtual North Korean presences in several nations around the world — nations where North Koreans are likely engaging in malicious cyber and criminal activities. These nations include India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nepal, Kenya, Mozambique, and Indonesia.”

Its report said they had analysed internet activity of North Koreans from April to July 2017. “Patterns of activity suggest that North Korea may have students at least in seven universities around the country and may be working with several research institutes and government departments. Nearly one-fifth of all activities observed during this time period involved India.”

The bottom-line as far as India is concerned is that US too do similar kind of thing against Pakistan and cut all links with it. Pakistan should be called out for its past and present collusion with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. Both US and India can cooperate only when it benefits both.