Login/Logout

*
*  
"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Pakistan

India, Pakistan Test New Missiles; U.S. Urges Restraint

Howard Diamond

BUILDING ON their tit-for-tat nuclear tests of May 1998, India and Pakistan conducted test flights of new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on April 11 and on April 14 and 15, respectively, bringing both states closer to deploying strategic arsenals based on ballistic missiles. In keeping with the February 1999 Lahore Declaration, both states informed each other in advance of their tests, and also gave advance notice to the five permanent (P-5) members of the UN Security Council. (See ACT, January/February 1999.) Depending on their payloads, India's Agni-2 and Pakistan's Ghauri-2 and Shaheen-1 missiles could enable both states to reach important new targets: Islamabad may be able to strike all of India, and New Delhi, already capable of striking any target in Pakistan, may be able to reach Beijing and Shanghai.

The P-5 states, Japan and Australia have condemned India's missile test and Pakistan's two tests in response. China, which New Delhi has identified as its primary security concern, warned on April 13 that the Agni-2 test "could trigger a new round of arms race in South Asia," and called on India and Pakistan to resolve their differences "through continuous patient, frank and meaningful dialogue." The statement from Beijing's Foreign Ministry made no reference to any effect the Agni-2 test would have on China's own strategic modernization efforts.

When asked on April 14 about Pakistan's response to New Delhi's missile test, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh asserted, "There is no arms race. There is no danger." Islamabad's Foreign Ministry issued a statement later that day saying, "Pakistan does not want a nuclear and missile race in South Asia" and called on New Delhi to accept Pakistani proposals for a strategic restraint regime. New Delhi has resisted regional and international efforts to limit its nascent nuclear arsenal, insisting that no limitations are feasible without including China.

At an April 14 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth said that India bore a "special responsibility" for preventing a South Asian arms race, noting that in both the nuclear and missile areas Pakistan "is responding" to Indian actions. "Both sides have said they want to meet their security requirements at the lowest possible level," Inderfurth said. "We would now like to see concrete steps from both countries that they intend to do so."

According to a U.S. official, the Clinton administration has restrained its criticism of the tests, recognizing both countries' stated intentions to develop nuclear deterrent capabilities. Washington has "urged both sides not to test or to do anything to provoke the other" and is trying to persuade the South Asian rivals to accept the need for a stable "minimum deterrent framework," the official said. In discussions with U.S. officials, both India and Pakistan have so far resisted requests to define their concepts of credible minimum deterrence or discuss stable basing modes.

Extended Range

According to reports in the Indian press, tests of the Agni-2 had been canceled in late-January and early-March for a combination of political and technical reasons. The January test would have conflicted with the arrival of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott for non-proliferation talks with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, and the March test would have come too soon after the successful Indian-Pakistani summit in Lahore. The nature of the so-called "technical hitches" referred to by officials from India's Defense Research and Development Organization as having influenced the two postponements was unclear. India has developed the nuclear-capable Prithvi family of 150-, 250- and 350-kilometer-range ballistic missiles and is alleged to be interested in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, sometimes referred to as the Agni-3.

According to New Delhi, the Agni-2 missile traveled over 2,000 kilometers and has an estimated range of 2,500 kilometers. Indian officials said the tested missile had a payload of 1,000 kilograms. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said the Agni-2 could carry a "special weapons payload" and that a decision on whether to deploy a nuclear or conventional warhead "would depend upon the circumstances." Fernandes noted the Agni-2 was rail mobile and could be deployed to "rugged areas" on a "very compact system." With the single test flight, India has "reached the point of operationalization of the Agni-2 as a weapon system," Fernandes said.

Reports in the Indian press offered some additional details about the missile. Unlike its predecessor, the two-stage solid-liquid Agni-1, the Agni-2 used two solid stages which would make the missile easier to deploy and keep ready for launch on short notice. The Agni-2 may also be highly accurate. Flight control was claimed to have been aided by an on-board computer using information from global positioning system (GPS) satellites. The 1,500 to 2,000-kilometer-range Agni-1, which New Delhi has consistantly labled as a technology demonstration project, reportedly uses an on-board computer for terminal guidance of a separating reentry vehicle. India last tested the Agni-1 in February 1994.

Pakistan's Response

Responding to the Agni-2 test—despite international pleas for restraint—Islamabad test-fired its Ghauri-2 missile on April 14 and its Shaheen-1 missile on April 15. A statement from Islamabad on April 14 claimed the missile tests "strengthened national security and will help in maintaining a strategic balance in South Asia." The Ghauri-2 was tested to a range of 1,400 kilometers, but Pakistan claims the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and can fly up to 2,300 kilometers if its 1,000-kilogram payload is reduced. The technical differences between the Ghauri-1 and -2 remain unclear.

According to another U.S. official, however, there may not actually be a Ghauri-2 missile at all. Based on images of the tested missile, the profile of the flight test and the specifics offered in Islamabad's initial announcement of the test, the missile fired may have actually been a Ghauri-1. When asked for a rationale, the official suggested Islamabad was probably trying to maintain the appearance of keeping pace with the range of India's Agni-2. Pakistan last tested the 1,500-kilometer-range Ghauri-1 in April 1998. Following that test, the United States imposed sanctions on Pakistan and North Korea, claiming the Ghauri-1 was derived from the liquid-fueled 1,300-kilometer-range Nodong missile.

The Shaheen-1 was tested to a reported range of 600 kilometers, but is claimed to be capable of traveling 750 kilometers with a 1,000-kilogram payload. The road-mobile solid-fuel Shaheen is believed to utilize technology from China. According to the Pakistani newspaper The News, the Shaheen-1 is meant to counter India's Prithvi missiles. Pakistan has said it is prepared to test its 2,300-kilometer-range Shaheen-2 missile, but that with the Shaheen-1 test it has completed its current missile testing activities.

India, Pakistan Agree on Security, Confidence-Building Measures

Howard Diamond

NINE MONTHS after their nuclear tests raised fears of an uncontrolled arms race in South Asia, India and Pakistan agreed to a series of security and confidence-building measures following a meeting of their prime ministers in Lahore, Pakistan, February 20–21. Embodied in the Lahore Declaration and its accompanying documents are steps to reduce the risks of a nuclear exchange prompted by an accident or misinterpretation of a nuclear or ballistic missile test.

Although India and Pakistan have adopted—and largely ignored—confidence-building measures in the past, the new arrangements may prove more effective in promoting trust while leaving the path for nuclear and missile deployments unobstructed.

Noting in the Lahore Declaration the additional responsibilities imposed by their newly explicit nuclear status, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to intensify their bilateral security dialogue and elevate the talks to the foreign minister level. Since their May 1998 nuclear tests, India and Pakistan have held several bilateral meetings on regional security issues such as Kashmir—most recently at the foreign secretary level in October—without much apparent progress.

The Lahore meeting resulted from a February 3 invitation by Sharif, who invited Vajpayee to Pakistan to mark the initiation of cross-border bus service between New Delhi and Lahore. The meeting enabled the two sides to improve relations by acknowledging each other as nuclear-weapon states—a step the rest of the world has refused to take—and by beginning to establish a stable deterrent relationship.

Yet finding an equilibrium in India and Pakistan's nuclear relations may prove difficult, as both nations are planning to test and deploy new ballistic missile systems. Islamabad is reportedly ready for a second test of its 1,300-kilometer-range Ghauri missile, as well as a first flight test of its new 750-kilometer-range solid-fuel Shaheen missile. Similarly, although New Delhi has allegedly twice postponed test flights of its 1,500-kilometer-range Agni missile, it still plans to proceed with development of the Agni-II, which has a reported range of 3,500 kilometers.

Accompanying the prime ministers' declaration was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Indian Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath and his Pakistani counterpart Shamshad Ahmed, which emphasized measures to improve nuclear security and prevent an accidental nuclear exchange. Agreeing to resolve remaining "technical details" in bilateral agreements by mid-1999, New Delhi and Islamabad committed to several steps to reduce the nuclear danger on the subcontinent.

First, the two sides agreed to exchange information on their nuclear doctrines and security concepts. Speaking to reporters, Ahmed said the exchange of information would include data on numbers of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles as well as deployment information. But with both sides still developing their nuclear arsenals and doctrines, the scope and the level of detail in the data exchanges remain unclear.

Regional media had speculated prior to the prime ministers' meeting on the possibility of a formal no-first-use agreement or a commitment not to target nuclear facilities or population centers. With the two sides' nuclear doctrines still in flux, however, no such agreements were reached.

To prevent accidental nuclear crises, the MOU called for advance notification of ballistic missile test flights and prompt notification of "any accidental, unauthorized, or unexplained incident" regarding nuclear weapons. It also called for each nation to work on measures to improve control over its nuclear weapons. Finally, the MOU recommended reviews of existing confidence-building measures and emergency communications (hotlines) arrangements "with a view to upgrading and improving these links."

The MOU strengthened India's and Pakistan's unilateral moratoriums on nuclear testing by making their commitments binding "unless either side…decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests." Both nations have also said they are prepared to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty before September of this year. A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry was quoted in the February 21 Washington Post as saying that Islamabad will "sign [the CTB Treaty] and adhere to it by September." Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh, while denying on February 24 that India had already committed to signing the treaty, reiterated New Delhi's willingness to sign pending success in negotiations with "key interlocutors" like the United States.

The next meeting of Indian and Pakistani officials will be in late March or early April, at the foreign secretary level, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz. Aziz has said he would likely meet with Singh within a month of those talks.

U.S. Waives Many Test-Related Sanctions on India, Pakistan

CITING PROGRESS in addressing U.S. non-proliferation concerns, the Clinton administration announced on November 6 its intention to use new waiver authority to lift many of the sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan following their nuclear tests in May. Noting both states' moratoriums on nuclear testing, pledges to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, commitments to strengthen export controls, and support for negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, a senior administration official said that President Clinton had decided to use the one-time, one-year waiver authority to create a better environment for negotiations to reduce the nuclear danger in South Asia.

The waiver, which took effect on December 1, will allow the resumption of trade support by U.S. government entities such as the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and will lift restrictions on lending by private U.S. banks. Additionally, the United States will renew military-to-military contacts through the Defense Department's International Military Education and Training program. To prevent Islamabad from slipping into default, the administration will also support a one-time, $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package for Pakistan.

The administration did not, however, lift the general ban on support for lending to India and Pakistan by international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. Nor did it agree to resume the sale of military or munitions list items, which were not included in the waiver authority.

U.S. diplomatic efforts have been led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who in November conducted his seventh round of talks with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed and separately with Indian special envoy (and now Minister of External Affairs) Jaswant Singh. In a November 12 speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Talbott listed five "practical steps" to prevent a nuclear arms race and reduce tensions in South Asia. In addition to signing the CTB Treaty, Talbott also called on both governments to stop producing fissile material for weapons purposes, limit development of ballistic missiles and deployment of nuclear-capable aircraft, begin a "high-level, frequent and, above all, productive dialogue" on bilateral security issues and tighten export controls on nuclear and missile technology.

While both countries announced in September their willingness to sign the CTB Treaty before September 1999, neither has embraced U.S. suggestions regarding a fissile material production moratorium or limits on ballistic missile development.

India and Pakistan have held several rounds of bilateral talks on security issues, most recently in Islamabad from October 15 to 18. Despite adopting a substantive agenda that included the divisive issue of Kashmir, the talks failed to make much progress, as both sides reiterated familiar positions. The next round of bilateral talks is scheduled for February 1999.

An interagency group of U.S. officials held meetings in India and Pakistan on November 9–10 and 11–12, respectively, on ways to improve each country's system of export controls. Washington is urging both countries to adhere to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime standards. Pakistani Foreign Minister Sataj Aziz announced on December 13 that nuclear export control legislation was being prepared for cabinet consideration. Speaking to both houses of Parliament on December 15, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, "we are taking steps to make more stringent our laws" regarding sensitive technology sales.

U.S. to Repay Pakistan for Undelivered F-16s

Pakistani Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif announced on December 19 that the United States and Pakistan had settled an eight-year dispute arising from Washington's non-delivery of 28 F-16 fighters, for which Islamabad paid $658 million in 1989. President Clinton had pledged an early and fair resolution of the problem at a December 2 meeting with Sharif.

Under the terms of the agreement, the United States agreed to pay Islamabad $326.9 million, almost all of which which will come from the Treasury Department Judgement Fund (used to settle legal disputes), and provide goods worth another $140 million, including $60 million in wheat. Washington had earlier reimbursed Islamabad $157 million for the fighters. The United States stopped delivery of the F-16s in 1990 in accordance with the 1985 Pressler amendment, which proscribes U.S. military sales and assistance to Pakistan if the president cannot certify that Islamabad does not possess a "nuclear explosive device."

New Zealand announced on December 1 that it would purchase, through two consecutive five-year leases, the 28 fighters previously sold to Pakistan. The proposed deal is estimated at between $105 and $125 million.

India, Pakistan Commit to Sign CTB Treaty by September 1999

SPEAKING AT the United Nations on September 23 and 24, respectively, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said their nations were prepared to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty prior to September 1999. While both states declared unilateral moratoriums on nuclear testing following their nuclear tests in May, the international community, and especially the United States, have pressured Islamabad and New Delhi to sign the CTB without conditions or delay. The speeches at the opening of the UN General Assembly are the most explicit commitments to signing the treaty that either leader has made to date.

Sharif, referring to the Conference of States Parties that may be convened in September 1999 if the treaty's entry into force provisions have not been met, stated that "Pakistan is…prepared to adhere to the CTBT before this Conference."

Sharif insisted, however, that "Pakistan's adherence to the Treaty will take place only in conditions free from coercion or pressure." He cited "restrictions imposed on Pakistan by multilateral [financial] institutions" and the "discriminatory sanctions" of the 1985 Pressler amendment, which precludes U.S. military assistance or sales to Pakistan as long as the president cannot certify that it does not have a "nuclear explosive device."

Vajpayee, noting that India is engaged "with key interlocutors on a range of issues, including the CTB," said that India was "prepared to bring those discussions to a successful conclusion, so that the entry into force of the CTBT is not delayed…." Of the 44 nations whose ratification is necessary for the treaty to enter into force, only India, Pakistan and North Korea have failed to sign the treaty.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave a modest endorsement to the two UN speeches, stating on September 24 that the commitments to the CTB were "important steps," but noting that "there are many steps that still need to be taken." On September 30, White House spokesman Mike McCurry confirmed that President Clinton had decided to postpone his planned trip to South Asia indefinitely. Clinton is "still eager to make the visit when we have had further significant progress with our respective security concerns," said McCurry.

The administration, which imposed sanctions mandated by U.S. law on the two South Asian states, has been holding bilateral meetings with both countries since July. The United States is pushing India and Pakistan to adopt an international agenda that includes regional arms control proposals and measures to support the global non-proliferation regime, such as signing the CTB and participating in negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty.

In return, New Delhi and Islamabad have insisted that U.S. and international sanctions be dropped. India is also reported to be pressing Washington to remove restrictions on exports of dual-use technology. Specifically, New Delhi would like access to nuclear power and space technologies currently controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Eager to develop its space and civil nuclear power sectors for economic reasons, New Delhi also wishes to be recognized as a nuclear-weapon state, entitled to commerce in sensitive technologies with the other nuclear powers. Pakistan, meanwhile, is said to be inquiring about future military sales and assistance to help redress its conventional military imbalance with India.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott is expected to hold a new round of meetings with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed on November 4 and with the Indian prime minister's special envoy, Jaswant Singh, on November 19. Chances for progress in the talks may have improved following adoption into law on October 21 of a one-year waiver authority for the test-related sanctions. The waiver, which would allow the president to suspend all of the non-military-related sanctions, could give the Clinton administration the bargaining flexibility needed to produce a deal.

U.S.-Israel Fighter Sale; Buyer for Pakistani F-16s?

The October 22 deadline passed without action by Congress to block a proposed $2.5 billion sale of U.S. fighters to Israel. The Pentagon had notified Congress on September 22 that Israel is seeking to buy 60 F-16C/D fighters or 30 F-15I fighters from Washington; under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress has 30 days following notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan and New Zealand) to block a proposed sale.

Currently, Israel is incorporating a 1994 buy of 25 F-15I fighters into its inventory, estimated at more than 200 F-16s and 60 to 100 F-15s. An Israeli announcement on the purchase, which is likely to be a combination of both fighters, is expected early next year.

In other fighter news, New Zealand has expressed interest in purchasing the 28 F-16 fighters that Pakistan paid $658 million for in a 1989 deal, but never received. Washington stopped delivery of the aircraft in 1990 in accordance with the 1985 Pressler Amendment, which proscribes delivery of U.S. military equipment or assistance to Pakistan if the president cannot certify that Islamabad does not possess a "nuclear explosive device." Since an April 1995 pledge by President Clinton to resolve the issue, the United States has been seeking a way to repay Pakistan and avoid a possible court case. Washington has already paid back $157 million to Islamabad, which has until February 1999 to file suit.

U.S.-Israel Fighter Sale; Buyer for Pakistani F-16s?

The October 22 deadline passed without action by Congress to block a proposed $2.5 billion sale of U.S. fighters to Israel. The Pentagon had notified Congress on September 22 that Israel is seeking to buy 60 F-16C/D fighters or 30 F-15I fighters from Washington; under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress has 30 days following notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan and New Zealand) to block a proposed sale.

Currently, Israel is incorporating a 1994 buy of 25 F-15I fighters into its inventory, estimated at more than 200 F-16s and 60 to 100 F-15s. An Israeli announcement on the purchase, which is likely to be a combination of both fighters, is expected early next year.

In other fighter news, New Zealand has expressed interest in purchasing the 28 F-16 fighters that Pakistan paid $658 million for in a 1989 deal, but never received. Washington stopped delivery of the aircraft in 1990 in accordance with the 1985 Pressler Amendment, which proscribes delivery of U.S. military equipment or assistance to Pakistan if the president cannot certify that Islamabad does not possess a "nuclear explosive device." Since an April 1995 pledge by President Clinton to resolve the issue, the United States has been seeking a way to repay Pakistan and avoid a possible court case. Washington has already paid back $157 million to Islamabad, which has until February 1999 to file suit.

India, Pakistan May Be Moving Toward CTBT

Recent moves by Indian and Pakistani leaders suggest that the two South Asian nations, which conducted tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May, are edging toward signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes told the BBC Hindi service on September 7 that India would sign the treaty if it were recognized as a nuclear power. A senior official in the prime minister's office was cited by The Times of India on September 9 as saying, "We believe that adhering to the CTBT will not jeopardize our security concerns." In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government on September 11 called a joint session of parliament to debate signing the CTBT, a move that may reflect a government decision to sign the test ban.

Driving the Indian and Pakistani governments is the weight of international sanctions imposed following the two countries' nuclear tests of May 11 and 13 and May 28 and 30, respectively. Indian officials have told reporters that in return for signing the CTBT, New Delhi expects the removal of these sanctions, as well as the lifting of Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime restrictions on India's purchases of nuclear and missile technology. Islamabad's signature of the test ban may come more easily, as Pakistan is in desperate need of international economic assistance that is being withheld as a consequence of the May tests.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott has led U.S. efforts to persuade the two South Asian states to adhere to an international arms control agenda that includes signing the test ban. The Clinton administration, which imposed sanctions required by U.S. law after the two sets of tests, has been supporting congressional efforts to provide presidential waiver authority for the sanctions in order to enhance the administration's negotiating flexibility.

Pakistan Supports Cutoff Talks At Opening of Third CD Session

Wade Boese

AT THE OPENING plenary of the third and final 1998 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on July 30, Pakistan announced its support for starting negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty. The move by Pakistan, along with India's pledge following its May nuclear tests to participate in cutoff talks, removes a significant obstacle to what the United States considers to be a top negotiating priority for the conference.

While India and Pakistan had been the principal holdouts during the past three years to establishing cutoff talks, prospects for commencing work remain uncertain because all 61 members, including Israel, must support or not block the establishment of an ad hoc negotiating committee. A special plenary will be held on August 4 to determine if a consensus exists. However, the conference will only have until the close of the third session on September 9 to conduct any negotiations because a mandate ends with the final session of each year. Conference members would need to reach consensus again to reopen the negotiations in 1999.

As recently as May, Pakistan had declared that work on a cutoff regime would be a "waste of time." But according to a July 30 statement to the conference by Munir Akram, Pakistan's CD ambassador, agreement was reached during a July 21–23 visit to Islamabad by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to support "the immediate commencement of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, universal and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material" for weapons purposes based on the March 1995 "Shannon" mandate. Under that document (CD/1299), negotiations would not preclude discussion of existing stockpiles.

If an ad hoc committee is convened, Akram said that Pakistan will "seek a solution to the problem of unequal stockpiles," which Islamabad believes "could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence" in South Asia. Pakistan, Egypt and other non-aligned countries have declared that a ban limited to future production of fissile material would merely freeze in place existing stockpile disparities and serve as only another non-proliferation measure rather than as a step toward nuclear disarmament, the highest priority of the non-aligned countries. So far, none of the five nuclear-weapon states have declared support for a fissile material regime that takes into account existing stockpiles.

 

APL Transfer Ban

On June 25, a day before the end of the CD's second session, conference delegates heard a proposed mandate to negotiate a transfer ban on anti-personnel landmines (APLs), another U.S. negotiating priority, from Ambassador John Campbell, the CD's special coordinator for APLs. He cautioned that the recently signed Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of APLs, would have to be the standard for definitions, and that there existed "no shared willingness" to go beyond a transfer ban.

Campbell further recommended that a "statement of understanding" accompany the proposed mandate to leave open for discussion such issues as individual country's national security concerns, demining, availability of alternative technologies, the nature of APL trade and the impact of a transfer ban on indigenous production. The statement would also stress the "need for consistency with the terms of existing international instruments."

Canadian Ambassador to the CD, Mark Moher, warned the conference on June 25 that Canada would not support a transfer ban framed as a first step in a more comprehensive treaty, or the creation of any bureaucracy or verification regime since the Ottawa Treaty did not create such a body. If the conference "confuses or undermines in any way the global prohibition on APLs entrenched in the Ottawa Convention," Canada would withdraw from the negotiations and not sign any final document, Moher said. Other Ottawa Treaty signatories and Western European states have expressed similar views.

Moreover, Mexico and South Africa may block consensus at the CD, as both states have expressed reservations with negotiating a transfer ban at the conference because it could detract from the Ottawa Treaty as well as other CD priorities such as nuclear disarmament.

In other conference business during the second session, the two special coordinators for prevention of an arms race in outer space and transparency in armaments did not propose any negotiating mandates, while the ad hoc committee on negative security assurances made no headway as members reiterated prior positions. China maintained that negative security assurances should include no-first-use pledges by the nuclear-weapon states for each other, a view not shared by the other four, and the United States continued to insist that the way to secure legally binding negative security assurances is through the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free-zones and not a negative security assurances treaty.

The Western group will be in a position to steer conference discussions for the near future as the United Kingdom will assume the presidency of the conference for the close of the final 1998 session. The United States will accede to the presidency for the start of the first session of 1999.

Pakistan Supports Cutoff Talks At Opening of Third CD Session

India, Pakistan Respond to Arms Control Initiatives

Howard Diamond

IN THE WEEKS following their May nuclear tests, India and Pakistan appear to be responding positively to international calls that both countries participate more fully in global non-proliferation efforts and move to diffuse South Asia's most dangerous nuclear crisis to date. The United States, which took the lead in galvanizing international condemnation of the tests and imposed the harshest economic sanctions, has initiated new bilateral talks with both countries and has sought to soften the application of U.S. sanctions to induce New Delhi and Islamabad to move quickly.

Insistent that India and Pakistan not be allowed to "test their way" to nuclear-weapon-state status, the Clinton administration has said that sanctions will not be lifted unless India and Pakistan make progress on the international arms control agenda agreed to by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the five recognized nuclear-weapon states) and the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries. (See ACT, May 1998.) Included on that agenda are India's and Pakistan's immediate and unconditional signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); their participation in negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a treaty to ban the production of fissile material for weapons purposes; their renewal of bilateral talks, including the issue of Kashmir; and steps to de-escalate their nuclear weapon and ballistic missile rivalry, particularly the non-deployment of nuclear weapons and a halt to missile testing.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott completed a third round of separate talks with Indian and Pakistani officials July 19 to 23, spending two and a half days in New Delhi before going to Islamabad on July 21. On July 30, Munir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament announced that during Talbott's July 21–23 meetings, Islamabad agreed to support the commencement of cutoff talks at the CD. (See p. 27.) Negotiating principally with Jaswant Singh, the Indian prime minister's special envoy, and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed, Talbott held earlier meetings in India on June 12 and July 9-10 with Singh, and on June 29 with Ahmed and on July 6 with Pakistani special envoy Sahabzada Yaqub Khan. On July 11, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that a decision to sign the CTBT would be made independently of what India does—a significant departure from past Pakistani policy.

India is intent on deploying a "minimum deterrent" and, according to a July 7 New York Times report, an official of the prime minister's office said New Delhi will reject proposals that it not test ballistic missiles or develop a nuclear force. India has already declared a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing (as has Pakistan). The official said India would sign the CTBT without demanding the treaty be rewritten once it had determined "what we can get," and that New Delhi is ready to make a binding international pledge not to transfer nuclear technology and is willing to participate in cutoff talks at the CD. On July 21, The Washington Times reported that India will continue to insist that the United States recognize India as a nuclear power, support its campaign to win a permanent seat on the Security Council, lift all proliferation-related sanctions and end the prohibition on civil nuclear commerce with India.

 

Moderating Sanctions

New Delhi and Islamabad are not only seeking to mend relations damaged by their nuclear tests, but are trying to expedite the lifting of international economic sanctions, whose total cost has been estimated by Washington at $4 billion for Pakistan and $20 billion for India.

Under U.S. law, any state other than a nuclear-weapon state (as defined by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) that tests a nuclear explosive device must be cut off indefinitely from all U.S. government assistance, including all military assistance, trade subsidies and non-humanitarian types of foreign aid; to be excluded from U.S. military sales and purchases of dual-use or Munitions List items; to be blocked from borrowing from U.S. commercial banks; and to face mandatory U.S. opposition to loans from international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In determining how the never-before-implemented legislation would be put into effect, the Clinton administration has made a number of decisions to moderate the sanctions' effect. First, while the G-8 decided in June to oppose lending to India and Pakistan by international financial institutions, an exception was made for loans to address "basic human needs." Although most World Bank loans fall into this category, Treasury Undersecretary David Lipton said June 18 that India would lose roughly $2.5 billion in World Bank loans while Pakistan would be blocked from about $1.5 billion in assistance. On June 25, the World Bank resumed lending to India with a $543 million package of loans for humanitarian projects.

Second, while U.S. banks are prohibited from lending to the Indian or Pakistani governments, the Clinton administration will allow them to continue doing business in India despite New Delhi's requirement that foreign banks hold part of their reserves in Indian government bonds. Third, the Commerce Department will continue to give favorable consideration for exports of high-technology dual-use items (such as advanced machine tools or supercomputers) on a case-by-case basis for public and private entities not involved in "nuclear, missile or inappropriate military activities."

Finally, on July 21, State Department spokesman James Rubin announced that Washington's opposition to IMF lending to Pakistan would be implemented by abstaining from votes; in effect authorizing the rest of the G-8 countries to support loans to Islamabad. "We have not softened or somehow waived sanctions," Rubin said. "We are abstaining and using the flexibility that the law currently allows." According to Rubin, "India neither seeks nor receives support from the IMF."

The Clinton administration has also sought congressional support in adjusting the sanctions. On July 14, the House of Representatives and the Senate rushed through legislation modifying U.S. sanctions legislation to exempt U.S. government agricultural credits for one year, just in time to allow U.S. wheat farmers to bid on a $250 million Pakistani wheat tender. President Clinton signed the bill into law the same evening, saying, "We need to make sure our sanctions policy furthers our foreign policy goals without imposing undue burdens on our farmers."

The next day the Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the fiscal year 1998 agriculture appropriations bill that would provide the president with waiver authority for all sanctions (with the exception of military sales and exports of dual-use and Munitions List items) for one year. The measure now awaits action by a House-Senate conference committee, as the version of the agriculture appropriations bill passed by the House doesn't include the waiver provision.

India, Pakistan Respond to Arms Control Initiatives

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Pakistan