China has been in loggerheads with the U.S. and its Asian, as well as, Western allies over various matters including the origin of Coronavirus pandemic, of late. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has also come under the scanner for aggressive censorship and curtailing freedom of speech of Chinese citizens. But a report has an even greater allegation against it.
If the report by Klaxon is to be believed, China has had a secret three-year pact with Pakistan to advance bio-warfare capabilities including deadly anthrax bacteria against India and Western rivals.
Potential Biological Weapon
Citing anonymous intelligence sources, the report, authored by Anthony Klan, has claimed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and Pakistan's Defense Science and Technology Organization (DESTO) have agreed to research "emerging infectious disease" and study biological control of such pathogens.
WIV has allegedly provided all the support, including financial and material, for the project and has already conducted "successful soil sampling tests" to isolate the Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) with "striking similarity" with Bacillus Anthracis or anthrax. As per intelligence sources, WIV has provided Pakistan with the BT agent for further research.
While the study could be related to advance understanding of bacteria and viruses and identify the genetics of microorganisms related to infectious diseases, if weaponized, it could have devastating effects as it will work as a potential weapon of mass destruction. The 1925 Geneva Convention prohibits any use of chemical or biological weapons in war.
Dual-Use Anthrax Research
But this isn't the first time. One source has been quoted saying that DETSO has been part of such dual-use researches related to anthrax to convert them into biological weapons in the past. That has raised concerns among the intelligence communities including India's.
"China's keen interest in the project is driven chiefly by its agenda to engage Pakistan against India and to conduct potentially dangerous experiments on foreign soil, without subjecting its own land and people to risk," a source told The Klaxon, adding that it was part of China's agenda to engage Pakistan against India. The two countries have been involved in border disputes over Kashmir and have accused each other of ceasefire violations and sponsoring terrorism on its land.
Wuhan Lab has come under intense scrutiny from Western countries including the U.S. with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. and its European allies besides India and Australia have demanded an independent inquiry into the origin of the disease. Some have even alleged that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease has been manufactured in Wuhan Lab. But most of the theories have been dismissed by China.
China Not Risking Its Own citizens
However, if it is strictly a virus research project, China, as per the report, wants to avoid risking its own citizens and instead, designate Pakistan for hazardous biochemical research. That way, China could evade any criticism from the international community related to the study.
One example that has been cited is the testing of a Coronavirus vaccine candidate by state-owned Sinopharm on Pakistani citizens and in the United Arab Emirates. The China-Pakistan project has already allegedly conducted experiments on the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV) which is similar to Ebola and has been categorized as a Biosafety Level (BSL) 4 microorganism or even Covid-19 virus.
All such pathogens including SARS-CoV-2 and BT require the highest safety standard or BSL-4. But the worrying fact is that Pakistan is conducting such research in labs that do not have the capability. The country doesn't have any known BSL 4 lab that can conduct research on such deadly pathogens and a leak would have a disastrous effect on its citizens and potentially on the whole world.