ISIS has released a report, India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How, arguing that the Indian system of using tenders to acquire export controlled technology raises concerns about proliferation.
Since at least 1984, IRE has regularly placed inconspicuous lists of items in Indian newspapers, such as the Times of India, to invite bids from potential suppliers to RMP. This procurement process is commonly referred to as “tendering,” where the tenderer is the company that bids to provide the item. Before submitting a bid, called a tender, a prospective supplier or trading agent can purchase, for a small fee, the detailed blueprints, manufacturing instructions, and specifications of a particular item.
An undesirable side effect of this process is the leakage of sensitive nuclear information. To prepare a bid, interested parties can obtain tender documents from IRE that list technical specifications of centrifuge components and centrifuge-related equipment. Although the detailed information may be stamped “proprietary” or similarly marked, this level of classification is relatively low. Company officials who possess this information could sell the item or underlying technology to other customers with the expectation that few legal consequences would result from Indian prosecutors.
Jeffrey raised this issue before in a post about India’s less-then-perfect non-proliferation record.