I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004

Despite Khan, Military Ties With Pakistan to Grow

Karen Yourish Roston and Delano D'Souza

President George W. Bush has lifted all sanctions against Pakistan and will designate the country a “major non-NATO ally”—an elite status that entitles recipients to preferential treatment in military-military operations. The two policy shifts come on the heels of February disclosures that A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, had for years been providing nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.

Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Bush’s intent to designate Pakistan a major non-NATO ally on March 18, following a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Kursheed Mehmood Kasuri in Islamabad. He said the move will facilitate cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

The trip offered little insight into whether top Pakistani government and military officials were aware of or even involved in Khan’s network. Powell told reporters after a meeting with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he received some new information about the network during the discussion but that he wanted to “reflect on what he said to me and discuss it with some of my other colleagues back in Washington” before commenting on specifics.

During a March 30 hearing of the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton addressed the issue. “Based on the information we have now, we believe that the proliferation activities that Mr. Khan confessed to recently...were activities that he was carrying on without the approval of the top levels of the government of Pakistan.”
Bolton did say, however, that he is certain that some government officials did participate in and benefit from Khan’s network.

The administration says the decision to bestow “non-NATO ally” status on Pakistan underscores the importance of the country’s role in the war against international terrorism, particularly in the continuing fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. With the designation, Pakistan will join an exclusive club of nations, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. Major non-NATO allies are given greater access to U.S. defense equipment and supplies and are allowed to participate in cooperative research and development programs with the United States.

Further cementing U.S.-Pakistani relations, Bush said March 24 that he is lifting all remaining sanctions imposed in 1999 after Musharraf seized power in a coup, although most of these had already been waived or eliminated during the past five years. Bush said the action would “facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan and is important to United States efforts to respond to, deter, or prevent acts of international terrorism.”

Not surprisingly, the news of Pakistan’s new status is not sitting well with the Indian government. Although relations between the two countries have been improving—a series of peace talks are scheduled over the next few months—India has long accused Pakistan of fomenting cross-border terrorism, and the two countries are locked in a strategic battle over Kashmir. The tit for tat continued, with Pakistan testing its Shaheen II intermediate-range ballistic missile on March 9 and India testing its Trident short-range surface-to-air missile at month’s end.

Following Powell’s announcement, Navtej Sarna, a spokesperson for Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, noted that “it is disappointing that [Powell] did not share with us this decision” when he was in India two days before he made the statement in Islamabad. “We are studying the details of this decision, which has significant implications for India-U.S. relations,” Sarna stated.

India goes to the polls from April 20 to May 10 in an election that is expected to keep the Vajpayee coalition government in power. Still, Indian officials worry that the U.S. decision to grant Pakistan special military status could affect Vajpayee’s position in the upcoming election. Anand Sharma, spokesperson for India’s main opposition Congress Party, has called the U.S. decision a “public repudiation” for New Delhi.

The United States is trying to dispel Indian government concerns over its decision to grant Pakistan major non-NATO ally status. During questioning from reporters March 22, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said the United States has “made it clear that we’re willing to explore the same possibility of similar cooperation with India.”









President George W. Bush has lifted all sanctions against Pakistan and will designate the country a “major non-NATO ally”—an elite status that entitles recipients to preferential treatment in military-military operations...

Father of Pakistani Bomb Sold Nuclear Secrets

Karen Yourish and Delano D'Souza

In a dramatic television appearance Feb. 4, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the Pakistani bomb, acknowledged that during the past two decades he had secretly provided North Korea, Libya, and Iran with crucial technological and intellectual building blocks for making nuclear weapons. Khan, considered a national hero, apologized to the people of Pakistan for what he had done and was pardoned by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf shortly afterward.

At a time when U.S. and British intelligence agencies are under scrutiny for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, President George W. Bush is touting the breakup of Khan’s network—believed to span some half-dozen countries—as a victory for the intelligence services.

In a speech Feb. 11 at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., Bush reported that the picture of Khan’s network was pieced together over several years by U.S. and British intelligence officers, who gradually uncovered the network’s reach and identified key agents and money men. Bush said operatives monitored the travel of Khan and his senior associates, shadowed members of the network, recorded their conversations, and penetrated their operations. “We’ve uncovered their secrets,” the president stated, “and all Americans can be grateful for the hard work and the dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.”

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, told reporters Feb. 5 that the Khan case “raises more questions than it answers” and that cracking the case of the Pakistani scientist represents only “the tip of an iceberg” in the wider global nuclear black market. “We need to know who supplied what, when, to whom,” ElBaradei stressed. “Dr. Khan was not working alone.” In an op-ed published in The New York Times Feb. 13, ElBaradei underlined the need for urgent action to toughen the world’s nonproliferation regime to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and called for strengthening export controls and accelerating movement toward nuclear disarmament.

The disclosure of Khan’s network comes amid some progress in relations between India and Pakistan. In the first formal peace talks between the two countries in more than two years, officials from India and Pakistan met in Islamabad Feb. 16 and 17 to lay out a timetable for moving forward with a “composite dialogue” aimed at resolving a number of sticky issues, including the bitter controversy over the disputed regions of Jammu and Kashmir. That dispute has helped plunge the two countries into three wars and repeated threats of war since the partition of the subcontinent more than 50 years ago, including crises in 1999 and 2002 that raised fears of an atomic exchange between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

The Indian government has been relatively silent on the revelations about Khan’s network. When questioned by Arms Control Today, a spokesperson for the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C., declined to comment on the affair and instead pointed to an article published in the Hindustan Times Feb. 14 that stated, “In a way, the Khan episode is a vindication of the Indian stance (since the 1980s) that Pakistan’s nuclear program is, as it always was, a clandestine venture. But even in its state of alarm, the world community, notably the United States, is tending to be soft on the system which jeopardized international security by sponsoring terrorism and selling nuclear technology.”

On Feb. 23, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made his first public comments about the Khan network, stating during a news conference in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, “We hope that under the guidance of the United Nations a system will be developed to prevent such clandestine transfer of nuclear capability….It is a serious issue. We are taking whatever steps necessary on the security front.”

In pointing to Khan, the White House has avoided criticizing Musharraf or the Pakistani government—key allies in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and the effort to dismantle the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. They have neither complained about Musharraf’s decision to pardon Khan nor raised public questions about the extent to which the Pakistani government or military were involved in the illicit network. “The government of Pakistan is interrogating the network’s members, learning critical details that will help them prevent it from ever operating again,” Bush noted. “President Musharraf has promised to share all the information he learns about the Khan network and has assured us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation.”

In his speech, Bush said Khan was the illegal network’s “leading scientific mind as well as its primary salesman.” The Pakistani scientist made frequent trips to consult with his clients, selling blueprints for centrifuges to enrich uranium and uranium hexafluoride—an essential raw material. Although low-enriched uranium is used in civilian nuclear reactors, highly enriched uranium can be used in making nuclear weapons.

Bush said that Khan and his associates provided Iran, Libya, and North Korea with designs for Pakistan’s older centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models. The network also provided these countries with components and in some cases with complete centrifuges. Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges, Bush said. Other necessary parts were purchased through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, who set up front companies to fool legitimate firms into selling them materials.

There is some disagreement over when the United States began providing Pakistan with information about illegal nuclear activities. According to Department of State spokesperson Richard Boucher, the United States has had “long-standing concerns” about nuclear proliferation from Pakistan and has provided the country with information about those activities for years. However, in an interview published Feb. 10 in The New York Times, Musharraf said Washington had not provided evidence until October 2003.

“Certainly, our nonproliferation dialogue with Pakistan goes back much farther than [October],” Boucher said. He also praised Pakistan for taking “this matter seriously over time…and what they’re doing to make sure that Pakistan is not a source of proliferation.”

Musharraf said he first heard about suspicions that Khan was sharing information with other countries in February 2000.






Father of Pakistani Bomb Sold Nuclear Secrets

Tensions Between India and Pakistan Ease

Relations on the subcontinent appeared to thaw some in December, with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf suggesting early in the month that he would order Pakistani troops away from the line of control separating the disputed province of Kashmir if India were to do the same. Hopes were high at month’s end that Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee might meet on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Islamabad during the first week of 2004. The offers came as two assassination attempts were made on Musharraf within 11 days. Pakistani authorities detained three men in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir in connection with the second attempt, which occurred on Christmas Day.

Israel, India, and Pakistan: Engaging the Non-NPT States in the Nonproliferation Regime

Marvin Miller and Lawrence Scheinman

The problem at the top of the global nonproliferation agenda today, particularly as viewed by the Bush administration, is how to thwart the nuclear weapons ambitions of Iran and North Korea. However, to achieve this goal the administration needs to pay more attention to the three de facto nuclear-weapon states that are outside the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT): Israel, India, and Pakistan.

Short of becoming party to the treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states—a remote prospect at this time—these countries need to be more fully engaged in the nonproliferation regime. For example, it is not clear that Iran can be convinced or coerced into giving up its weapons ambitions unless Israel accepts constraints on its unacknowledged nuclear program. Additionally, the transfer of weapons-relevant nuclear items and expertise from the non-NPT states, particularly Pakistan, to North Korea, Iran, and other countries needs to be much more rigorously controlled. Finally, the non-universality of the NPT, and the U.S. view of the nuclear reality in Israel, India, and Pakistan as a situation to be “managed” rather than reversed, weakens the global nonproliferation norm and thus undermines the regime.

However, those charged with formulating nuclear policy in the Bush administration see little connection between the possession of nuclear weapons by the eight existing nuclear weapons states, including the three non-NPT states, and the real danger to international security and stability: the acquisition of nuclear weapons by rogue regimes and their possible transfer to terrorist organizations who could not be easily deterred from using them against the United States and its allies.

Although the United States has always opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons, in cases where this could not be prevented the basic determinant of our attitude toward the possession of these weapons by other countries is whether the regime is supportive of or antagonistic to U.S. interests. More precisely, U.S. officials have considered whether there are any conceivable circumstances where they would attack us with those weapons. Israel, India, and Pakistan have never posed such a threat. Thus, our opposition to their nuclear weapons development, although sometimes significant, was rarely sustained and has now evolved into tacit acceptance. Yet, reducing the size and salience of the existing nuclear arsenals, including those in the non-NPT states is crucial if the international community led by the United States is to stem further proliferation to both states and terrorist groups.

In the following, we trace the evolution of the U.S. policy toward the nuclear weapons programs in the three non-NPT states, the potential consequences for the proliferation challenges we now face, and what can be done to confront these challenges.

Getting the Bomb: A Brief History of the Three NPT Outliers


The United States initially opposed Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, but a secret understanding was reached in 1969 in which the United States agreed to accept the “nuclear facts on the ground” in Israel, while Israel pledged not to test or declare itself a nuclear-weapon state.[1] The reason for this change of attitude by the United States went beyond the perceived futility of continuing to pressure Israel on the nuclear issue in the face of significant domestic support for the Jewish state. President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger viewed the United States and Israel as strategic allies with a common attitude toward nuclear weapons: essential for their own security but a grave danger if acquired by their enemies. To this end and at considerable cost, both states have developed sophisticated nuclear (and conventional) weapons capabilities while seeking to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by their enemies, by persuasion if possible, by violent means if necessary. Despite various “bumps on the road” which have drawn public attention to the nuclear reality in Israel over the intervening years (e.g., “the flash in the South Atlantic”[2] in 1979 and the Vanunu revelations [3] regarding Israel’s nuclear capabilities in 1986), the 1969 understanding still holds.

Indeed, although the first Bush and Clinton administrations tried to interest Israel in signing on to a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would place a cap on the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons, the United States did not push very hard. Israel for its part never had much enthusiasm for such a treaty, regarding it as a “slippery slope” toward nuclear disarmament.[4] As a result of this and other problems, proposals for a regional or a global FMCT went nowhere. Since taking office, the current administration has not raised disarmament issues with Israel, contenting itself with continuing the practice of previous administrations of periodically “tipping its hat” to the importance of the universality of the NPT as a long-term goal but deferring any efforts to pressure Israel on this issue until a broader, lasting peace in the Middle East is achieved.

For example, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation John Wolf told a gathering of NPT signatories in April:

U.S. support for the goal of universal NPT adherence remains undiminished. We do not support and change in the NPT that would accord a different status to states currently outside the treaty. The 2000 NPT Review Conference recognized that universality would depend on successful efforts to enhance regional security in areas of tension such as the MiddleEast and South Asia. We continue to recognize the validity of the goal of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, and we are committed to helping the parties of the Middle East to achieve peace.[5]

Consonant with this view, also embraced by Israel, that peace in the Middle East is a precondition for eliminating nuclear weapons is the Bush administration’s focus on the Israeli/Palestinian “road map” rather than attempting simultaneously to promote some sort of “nuclear road map” for the region including Iran. Indeed, the United States is seeking to forge an international consensus on the need to pressure Iran to curtail its weapons-related nuclear activities, while Israel bolsters its ability to deal with the possible failure of such efforts by investing in missile defense and, reportedly, a second-strike nuclear deterrent.[6]

India and Pakistan

India acquired a nuclear-weapon capability under the cover of an ambitious nuclear power program that received considerable support from the major nuclear suppliers, particularly Canada and the United States, until India detonated a so-called peaceful nuclear explosive (PNE) in 1974. Pakistan’s acquisition and subsequent development of nuclear weapons have been driven by its perceived need to match India in this sphere as well as to compensate for its conventional military inferiority to India in the context of a possible war over Kashmir.

In the aftermath of the Indian PNE, the United States led an international effort to clamp down on further proliferation. One step was bringing the major nuclear suppliers together to agree on a code of conduct (the Nuclear Supplier Guidelines) for nuclear exports that mandated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on nuclear-related items and also urged restraint on the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies. Domestically, the United States enacted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978, conditioning U.S. nuclear cooperation on a country’s acceptance of full-scope safeguards. That law led to the termination of U.S. nuclear cooperation with India.

By contrast, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been much less consistent. Pakistan’s acquisition of uranium-enrichment technology in 1979 resulted in a U.S. cutoff of economic and military assistance. Two years later, however, the United States suspended these sanctions as a result of Pakistan’s cooperation in supporting the effort to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Yet, sanctions were imposed again in 1990 after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan and President George H. W. Bush could not (as required by the 1985 Pressler amendment) affirm that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear explosive device. The nuclear tests carried out in May 1998 by India and Pakistan resulted in the suspension of military and foreign economic assistance to both countries as well as prohibitions on U.S. bank-backed loans or credits and denial of Export-Import Bank support for exports. Eventually, domestic and foreign policy considerations, accelerated by the need for allies in the war on terrorism after September 11, 2001, led to an easing and ultimate lifting of all sanctions.

Technical and Political Differences

Although all three non-NPT states have acquired nuclear weapons, there are significant technical and political differences among them as well as differences in the way the United States has addressed their nuclear status. On the technical level, there is little reliable information about their nuclear arsenals in the public domain, but most knowledgeable observers give Israel a qualitative edge over India and Pakistan in the sophistication of their nuclear assets. There are strong differences of opinion about how India and Pakistan compare in this regard. As for the size of their arsenals, the consensus view is that Israel has more weapons than India, which has more than Pakistan, although again there are significant uncertainties in publicly available estimates.[7]

The impact of these technical differences on the political level is the perceived need of these states to conduct further testing and production of weapons. The principal political difference between India and Pakistan on the one hand and Israel on the other with regard to nuclear weapons policy is that since May 1998 both India and Pakistan are declared nuclear-weapon states, while Israel’s nuclear status—although aptly characterized by the Economist as the “world’s worst-kept” secret—remains officially unacknowledged by both Israel and the United States. Thus, although the current U.S. administration now appears to regard the nuclear weapons capabilities of India and Pakistan as well as Israel as a fait accompli—to be “managed” rather than opposed—this policy can only be acknowledged with regard to India and Pakistan. For example, Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that he did not expect either India or Pakistan to give up their nuclear capabilities, acknowledging that the world sees little point in trying to reverse “that bit of proliferation,” but no mention was made of Israel.[8]

Delinking Iran and Israel

A significant sorepoint in the troubled relations between United States and the Muslim world is whether the United States in recent years has adopted a double standard that favors Israel. The focus of this debate has been on U.S. policy vis-à-vis a political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The charge has also been made, however, that the United States had adopted a “nuclear double standard” in the Middle East, acquiescing in the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel while strongly opposing their possession by its neighbors, with Iran being the most prominent contemporary example. Although there is no legal equivalence between Israel possessing nuclear weapons and Iran attempting to obtain them since the latter is party to the NPT and the former is not, some would extend the lack of equivalence to the moral dimension, arguing that democratic Israel acquired nuclear weapons only to deter any attempt to annihilate the Jewish state, while Iran is presently ruled by autocratic ayatollahs who do not accept the legitimacy of “the Zionist entity” and thus cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons.

There is merit to this argument, but it is also true that the acquisition of nuclear weapons for reasons of status and security has been a goal of Iran for decades, dating back to the time of the shah.[9] Iran’s self-image as a regional superpower and the inheritor of a great cultural and intellectual tradition as well as the heart of the Shi`a branch of Islam would make it difficult to live without the bomb. These views are reinforced by Iranian concerns about the future nuclear ambitions of a Saddam Hussein-less Iraq and the fact that Iran’s Sunni-dominated neighbor and rival, Pakistan, already has nuclear weapons. Moreover, a more Western-oriented government in Tehran might view Israel’s nuclear capability as less menacing. Nevertheless, Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons outside the NPT remains a thorn in the side of the dominant states of the Islamic world, particularly Iran and Egypt, and the weight of opinion across the Iranian political spectrum is opposed to its giving up its quest for nuclear weapons without some reciprocity on the part of Israel.

Iran has now agreed to accept an additional protocol to IAEA comprehensive safeguards and to suspend temporarily its enrichment of uranium to reassure the international community about the peaceful intent of its nuclear program. However, this surely reflects a pragmatic assessment of current global politics and its national security interests rather than a commitment to forgo the acquisition of nuclear weapons forever.[10] Pressure needs to be maintained on Iran to remain a non-nuclear-weapon state-party to the NPT, but its incentives to obtain nuclear weapons, including their possession by Israel, also need to be addressed. Thus, in the long term it will be difficult if not impossible for Israel to maintain its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East without courting potentially catastrophic consequences. Israel should now consider, and the United States should support, stronger engagement in the nuclear nonproliferation regime short of the total elimination of its weapons as a means of reducing the risk of their further proliferation and possible use. (The same is true for India and Pakistan with regard to further vertical proliferation and possible use.) The important point is that implementation of various means to this end should not be hostage to the coming of a “just, stable, and enduring peace” to the region.[11] On the contrary, there can be a positive synergy between arms control measures and progress in the political arena.

Arms Control Under Ambiguity

Can nonproliferation measures be implemented if Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity with regard to its nuclear arsenal? The case that such a policy is a significant impediment to arms control and nonproliferation was made some years ago by McGeorge Bundy, William Crowe Jr., and Sidney Drell. They observed that, although the pretense that Israel is not a nuclear-weapon state may make relations with the United States and other states less troublesome, it prevents the Israeli government from making a convincing argument that no state need fear a nuclear Israel unless it attempts the destruction of the Jewish state. Moreover, it is very difficult to discuss constraints on a weapons program that does not officially exist.[12]

The basic counterargument is that nuclear ambiguity has served both Israel and the cause of nonproliferation well by enhancing deterrence against any military threat to Israel’s existence, while not providing the added incentive for any of its Muslim neighbors to acquire the bomb that might result from an open declaration of its nuclear status. It has also given Israel leverage in obtaining advanced conventional weapons and other military assistance from U.S. administrations concerned that Israel might resort to nuclear weapons without them. In addition, no declared nuclear-weapon state has ever given up its weapons, the implication being that acquiring and relinquishing nuclear weapons are most easily accomplished under conditions of ambiguity.[13] Finally, the policy of ambiguity is integral to Israel’s 1969 secret agreement with the United States, and it is difficult to imagine any significant shift in this policy without some new nuclear understanding between Israel and the United States. This in turn might lead to a wider public debate on such fundamental issues as who is entitled to have nuclear weapons, an outcome unlikely to be welcomed by either the U.S. government or that of the other weapon states.

Still, Bundy, Crowe, and Drell raise important concerns. Although other democracies such as the United States also restrict public access to sensitive information about national security in general and nuclear weapons in particular, Israel is unique in suppressing any public debate about a number of questions such as: Under what circumstances would Israel use the bomb, and who are the nuclear decision-makers? What change in nuclear policy might be needed in the event that states such as Iran also acquire nuclear capability; and how adequate is physical security on and command and control of Israel’s weapons? These are important issues and not just for Israel.

For now, however, it is more important to focus on reducing political tensions in the Middle East and engage Israel more fully in the nonproliferation regime rather than in a divisive debate about the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear status. No state, even the United States, has unlimited political capital, and efforts should be focused where there is a chance that some progress might be made.

NPT Article IV

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

North Korea and Pakistan

Another, more direct link between the three non-NPT powers and the so-called axis of evil is what the nonproliferation community views as a pattern
of nuclear weapons cooperation between Pakistan and North Korea and possibly also Iran. There have been disturbing reports in the nonproliferation community that Pakistan has transferred centrifuge enrichment technology and perhaps also weapons design information to Pyongyang and perhaps Tehran.[14] This is a serious matter that arguably is intrinsic to Pakistan’s non-NPT status. Although the NPT does not explicitly prohibit a non-nuclear-weapon state party from assisting another state in acquiring nuclear weapons, it is clear that to do so would fundamentally violate the normative foundation and rationale of the treaty.

However, not being a party to the NPT need not exacerbate the problem of limiting nuclear technology transfers that facilitate a recipient’s access to nuclear weapons. France demonstrated that, by participating in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) from its inception and endorsing a charter for responsible nuclear cooperation involving constraints on national behavior even while eschewing participation in the NPT (to which it adhered only in 1992), it is possible to maintain an independent posture on one’s own nuclear program while supporting international efforts to forestall nuclear proliferation. As a charter member of the NPT and a country with substantial leverage on Pakistan, the United States also bears substantial responsibility for bringing pressure on Pakistan not to assist non-nuclear-weapon states in acquiring nuclear weapons.

Engaging the Outliers

There are a variety of means for the non-NPT states to engage more fully in the nuclear nonproliferation regime while staying outside the treaty.[15] Besides implementing rigorous export control policies, all three non-NPT states could provide strong evidence for their claim to be responsible actors by supporting efforts to strengthen the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, to which they are already party. Efforts have been under way for some time to extend the convention’s provisions to cover physical protection of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in domestic use, storage, or transport and to prevent sabotage of such material and the facilities in which they may be located. Given the threat of terrorist access to weapons-useable nuclear materials and the presence of such materials in the three non-NPT states, this is a matter of urgency and common sense.

There are other measures outside the NPT per se relating to nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament in which the non-NPT parties could constructively engage. Of particular importance would be support for the FMCT, which was singled out in the Principles and Objectives decision document that was part of the 1995 agreement to extend the NPT indefinitely. It has remained on the NPT review agenda ever since.

The FMCT is the counterpart of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that constrains the development of and confidence in the performance of nuclear weapons beyond simple fission bombs. India and Pakistan have thus far refused to sign the CTBT but continue to observe unilateral nuclear testing moratoria. Israel, which has signed but not yet ratified the CTBT, is an active participant in all preparatory activities for the treaty’s international monitoring system and the development of procedures for on-site inspections. In September, Israel along with Iran (another CTBT signatory) reiterated its support for the early entry into force of the CTBT.

Unlike the NPT, both accords are universally applicable, nondiscriminatory agreements that represent a significant step in the effort to minimize further proliferation and create conditions in which existing nuclear weapons programs could be terminated or at least frozen.

The draft FMCT considered by the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in the mid-1990s applied only to future production and hence “grandfathered” the existing stocks of weapons-useable material in and out of weapons in NPT and non-NPT weapons states. Despite this, as previously noted, the treaty was opposed by Israel on the grounds that it constituted “a slippery slope” to the elimination of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, as well as by Pakistan because of its perception that its stockpile of fissile material is much smaller than that of India. Although the CTBT is moribund because of opposition by the Bush administration, the administration has previously expressed support for an FMCT that “advances U.S. security interests.”[16] However, the CD had not been able to take up the FMCT for years primarily because of a dispute between the United States and China on the latter’s position that there be concurrent negotiations on preventing an arms race in outer space. More recently, the United States announced that it is reviewing its position on the FMCT.[17] Resolving this disagreement and then moving forward toward the successful negotiation of a treaty will require continued support for the FMCT and stronger leadership by the United States, for example, in convincing the Israeli and Pakistani governments that such a treaty also advances their security interests.

Importance of NPT Universality

The importance of the universality of a treaty is that it consolidates the normative strength of the treaty and the regime that it anchors while the absence of universality weakens the strength of the norm. Universality also raises the costs of noncompliance by increasing the prospect of collective response to noncompliance and for enforcement of treaty and regime norms, rules, and principles.

In particular, accepting the non-NPT weapons status of Israel, India, and Pakistan weakens support for the treaty among its non-weapon state signatories in two ways: it strengthens the hand of those who argue that it is impractical to contain nuclear proliferation, and it erodes the value of the carrot provided by the NPT’s Article IV provisions that permits the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology to responsible states. The slippery slope of “nuclear realism” can be seen in the arguments of such experts as Middle Eastern security analyst Geoffrey Kemp when he argues that, when it comes to Iran:

[I]f the forces of moderation were to gain more power in Tehran and show that they are willing to be cooperative with the West and to resolve their outstanding differences with the US over terrorism and the Arab-Israeli peace process, then it might be easier to tolerate some form of legal nuclearization of Iran, particularly if other aspects of the relationship are going well.[18]

Although this might seem far-fetched at the moment, recall that the United States and the other major nuclear suppliers were quite supportive of the shah’s grandiose plans to build a vast nuclear enterprise in Iran in the 1970s. Of course, this enterprise was advertised as being strictly peaceful, but there is considerable overlap in the materials, technologies, and training required in peaceful and military applications of nuclear energy. As the Swedish physicist Hannes Alfven observed long ago, “[A]toms for peace and atoms for war are Siamese twins”—a position that the Bush administration now recognizes with regard to the “peaceful” nuclear assistance provided to Iran by Russia and other countries as well as the aid that the IAEA has doled out under the auspices of its Technical Cooperation Program.

The case for permitting peaceful nuclear technology to be transferred to New Delhi is usually made by India and its supporters in the United States who stress the importance of strengthening ties with the “world’s largest democracy” that is also an ally of the United States (and Israel) in the war against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. Moreover, they argue that, because the United States has accepted Indian nuclear weapons development as a reality, there is little point in continuing to penalize India by denying it the benefits of nuclear technology transfer, especially if it might offer to accept international safeguards on some of its indigenous nuclear facilities and perhaps other constraints on its nuclear activities as a quid pro quo.

The acceptance of safeguards on some or even all indigenous non-weapons-related facilities in the non-NPT states—like the acceptance of safeguards on similar facilities on a voluntary basis by the NPT weapons states—has politically important symbolic value. However, permitting the transfer of nuclear technology on this basis, even if coupled with their endorsement and implementation of rigorous export control arrangements such as the NSG guidelines, as some advocate, would blur the distinction between NPT parties and nonparties and thus undermine the treaty. In the case of the United States (and other major nuclear suppliers), such a trade-off would contradict national law and the NSG guidelines that require acceptance of full-scope safeguards as a condition for nuclear technology transfer. For this reason, such a trade-off is not prudent. Further discussion and debate should be encouraged, however, on the appropriateness of other quid pro quos for the willingness of the non-NPT states to engage more fully in the nonproliferation regime as suggested above.[19]

NPT Article VI

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

A New and Improved “Grand Bargain”

The major current proliferation problems are the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, and thus they deserve the concentrated attention they are receiving from the United States and other countries. However, the possession of nuclear weapons and the non-NPT status of Israel, India, and Pakistan is also a serious problem that is relevant to curtailing the North Korean and Iranian problems and to the long-term viability of the nonproliferation regime. Leadership by example is required from the United States in strengthening nonproliferation norms. Specifically, the United States should encourage the non-NPT states to participate more fully in the nonproliferation regime by (1) engaging constructively in FMCT negotiations; (2) implementing strengthened export controls and physical protection of nuclear materials and technologies; and (3) responding positively to the request by the IAEA Board of Governors to negotiate additional protocols to their item-specific safeguards agreements. For its part, the United States should also (1) reconsider its rejection of the CTBT; (2) complete ratification of its additional protocol agreement, which awaits Senate action; and (3) make a commitment to accept both state-of-the-art safeguards as well as some degree of multinational involvement in new centrifuge plants planned in the United States.[20]

Although the NPT has been a major bulwark against nuclear proliferation and has provided the legal and evidentiary basis for cases of noncompliance, the Iranian and North Korean situations have underlined several of its known deficiencies, in particular the ability of non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to misuse Article IV to acquire weapons-relevant materials and technology, foil verification attempts, and then withdraw from the treaty by invoking Article X. Potential remedies that have been proposed recently by

various individuals and groups[21] include requiring states not only to accept the Additional Protocol but also to justify their plans for a peaceful nuclear program to independent expert groups. These groups would likely be skeptical of plans for the construction of a uranium-enrichment plant under national control when secure supplies of enriched fuel at competitive prices are available on the international market.

However, in order to persuade states-parties to accept such changes in the interpretation of the treaty, the weapons states should be willing to move more quickly and forcefully to fulfill their obligations under Article VI, including providing the resources required to secure and then dispose of the large excess stocks of weapons-useable material. The amount of excess material stocks hopefully will grow over time as disarmament progresses, but they already constitute a considerable risk of diversion by nonstate actors, particularly in Russia.

In sum, although the existence of three de facto states outside the NPT is not high on the current nonproliferation agenda, they need to be engaged more fully in the nonproliferation regime in order to address the Iranian and North Korean problems as well as to maintain the viability of the treaty itself. Whatever measures a given state may take against proliferation on its own, the task of reducing nuclear risks including further proliferation lies beyond the capacity of any single state. Leadership in mobilizing and institutionalizing the needed collective effort and action is today in the hands of the United States.

NPT Article X

1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
2. Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority of the Parties to the Treaty.


1. Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), pp. 396-397.

2. The reference is to a signal picked up by one of the Vela satellites—the United States’ primary means of detecting aboveground nuclear explosions—that originated about 1,500 miles southeast of Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Although a blue-ribbon panel of scientists convened by the Carter administration to investigate the signal concluded that it was probably not of nuclear origin, there is a considerable body of evidence that lends credence to the proposition that the flash resulted from an Israeli nuclear device detonated in a joint Israeli-South African test exercise. Stephen Green, Living by the Bomb (Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books, 1988), pp. 111-134.

3. See Frank Barnaby, The Invisible Bomb (London: I. B. Tauris, 1989), pp. 24-25.

4. There is evidence that Israeli opposition to the FMCT has hardened since the first Bush and Clinton administrations made their initial overtures. For example, according to Aluf Benn, the diplomatic correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, in two letters and several conversations in 1999, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Clinton, “We will never sign the treaty, so do not delude yourselves, no pressure will help. We will not sign the treaty because we will not commit suicide.” See Aluf Benn, “The Struggle to Keep Nuclear Capabilities Secret,” Ha’aretz, September 14, 1999 (Internet edition); Aluf Benn, “Sharon Will Stick to Tradition of Nuclear Ambiguity,” Ha’aretz, February 18, 2001.

5. Wolf’s remarks were to the Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, which focused on the actions of “irresponsible NPT parties” that pose fundamental challenges to the NPT.

6. See Reuven Pedatzure, “Completing the Deterrence Triangle,” Carnegie Proliferation Brief 3, no.18 (June 29, 2000).

7. This is mainly due to the lack of hard information on the size and operating history of the facilities used to produce the requisite plutonium and highly enriched uranium as well as the amounts of these materials that are incorporated into weapons. See David Albright, Frans Berkhout, and William Walker, Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities, and Policies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 259-281.

8. Gerald F. Seib and Carla Anne Robbins, “U.S. Win Over Iraq May Do Little to Curb Spread of Nuclear Arms,” Wall Street Journal Europe, January 16, 2003, p. 10.

9. “No Iranian government, regardless of its ideological leanings is likely to abandon programs to develop weapons of mass destruction that are seen as guaranteeing Iran’s security.” Elaine Sciolino, “Nuclear Ambitions Aren’t New for Iran,” The New York Times, June 22, 2003 (quoting CIA director George Tenet).

10. Elaine Sciolino, “Nuclear Accord Shows Iran’s New Pragmatism,” International Herald Tribune, October 29, 2003, p. 9. Although the actual enrichment of uranium will (hopefully) be suspended, there was no commitment to suspend enrichment research and development or other activities such as construction of a heavy-water production plant that raise legitimate concerns about the rationale for Iran’s nuclear program.

11. The phrase is from a statement by the head of the U.S. delegation to the 2000 NPT Review Conference, who noted that “Israel has stated that it is prepared to surrender its nuclear weapons in the context of a just, stable, and enduring Middle East peace.” See Gerald Steinberg and Aharon Etengoff, “Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Developments in the Middle East: 2000-1” (Ramat-Gan, Israel: Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, December 2002), p. 38.

12. McGeorge Bundy, William Crowe Jr., and Sidney D. Drell, Reducing Nuclear Danger (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1993), pp. 69-70.

13. For example, see George Perkovich, India’s Nuclear Bomb (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 459-464.

14. David E. Sanger, “North Korea’s Bomb: Untested but Ready, CIA Concludes,” New York Times, November 9, 2003 p. 4; “Islamabad Gave Key Nuclear Help, Admits Iran,” Hindu, November 13, 2003 (Internet edition).

15. Lawrence Scheinman, “Engaging Non-NPT Parties in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime,” Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation Issue Review no. 16 (Southampton, United Kingdom: Mountbatten Centre for International Studies, University of Southampton, May 1999).

16. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, December 2002.

17. In August 2003, China indicated that it was not opposed to a compromise proposal for a CD working agenda that would permit negotiations on an FMCT while establishing a group dealing both with weapons in outer space and nuclear disarmament without any explicit reference to negotiations. Although the United States has not yet responded to this proposal, the Bush administration’s distaste for any linkage of an FMCT with other issues it does not want addressed is well known. Thus, it seems unlikely that negotiations on an FMCT in the CD will resume any time soon. See “U.S. Reviewing FMCT Policy,” Arms Control Today, November 2003, p. 43.

18. Geoffrey Kemp, “Iran’s Nuclear Options,” in Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Options: Issues and Analysis, ed. Geoffry Kemp (Washington, DC: Nixon Center, 2002), p. 8 (emphasis added).

19. Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut suggest that, if India and Pakistan agree to make their export control systems identical to that of the NSG as well as the Australia Group and the MTCR, the principal supplier states within these regimes would assist the civilian programs in these countries through technology transfer and co-development. Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut, “Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan,” Arms Control Today, September 2003, pp. 12-16.

20. See “New Mexico Will Host the $1.2 Billion U Enrichment Plant,” Nuclear News, October 2003, p. 64. Besides the plant in New Mexico, to be built by Louisiana Energy Services using technology developed by the European Urenco enrichment consortium, the United States Enrichment Corporation also plans to build a centrifuge plant in Ohio using technology previously developed in the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy.

21. See Princeton-Stanford Workshop on Arms Control, August 22-26, 2003, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Marvin Miller is a research affiliate at the MIT Center for International Studies. He retired from the MIT Department of Nuclear Engineering in 1996. Lawrence Scheinman is distinguished professor of international policy, Monterey Institute of International Studies and adjunct professor, Georgetown University. He served as assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for Non-Proliferation and Regional Arms Control in the Clinton Administration and was a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Board on Arms Control and Nonproliferation from 1998-2001.

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India, Pakistan Move Forward With New Weapons

South Asia’s ballistic missile competition moved to a new phase in October. Amid news that India’s Agni I and II ballistic missiles were ready for deployment and had been handed over to the army, Pakistan conducted a round of three ballistic missile tests that concluded Oct. 14. In other developments, India announced it had established a credible second-strike capability. Nevertheless, both countries avowed their peaceful intentions.

Indian Prime Minister Bihari Vajpayee said that India’s establishment of new alternative military command centers did not mark a more aggressive stance by New Delhi. Vajpayee stressed that India’s nuclear policy is “firmly predicated” on the principle of a no-first-use policy. “Our nuclear weapons are meant to deter irresponsible military adventurism, not to fight a nuclear war,” he said in an interview with the Thai newspaper Matichon during a visit to Thailand Oct. 9.

Pakistani officials tried to play down the strategic significance of their country’s missile tests, calling the round a purely technical effort rather than a provocative gesture toward India and stressing that it had been in the works for some time. “These tests do not have any specific reasons beyond military purposes,” Pakistani military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan Khan told Voice of America Oct. 14. “These tests have been done only to validate the design parameters, which are purely technical reasons. There is no message to be sent across, and these are not in any [way] a tit-for-tat response.”

Still, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri claimed during the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia Oct. 14 that India’s plans to buy the Phalcon airborne early-warning radar system and other defense systems “pose[] a credible threat to Pakistan” and that Pakistan “will be forced to acquire new generation defense systems,” according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

In March, India and Pakistan did engage in what was seen as a tit for tat when each country tested short-range nuclear-capable missiles on the same day. (See ACT, April 2003.)

Tests Successful

The recent round of testing began on Oct. 3 with the firing of Pakistan’s Hatf-3 Ghaznavi, a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying payloads of 500 kg up to a range of 290 kilometers (182 miles). The Pakistani military said in a statement that the test, the second of the Ghaznavi missile, showed all design parameters had been successfully validated.

The following two tests, on Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, were both conducted using the medium-range Hatf-4. Also known as Shaheen-1, the surface-to-surface missile is capable of carrying payloads of 500 kg up to 700 kilometers (or about 435 miles, i.e., deep into India). The Pakistani military said the tests were successful and that a longer-range version of the Hatf series will be tested in the future. (See ACA missile fact sheet, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/missiles.asp.) Both missiles tested this month are capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Indian Command Centers Set Up

Meanwhile, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said the country’s nuclear command chain is in place. In declaring Oct. 5 that India’s Agni I and Agni II ballistic missiles have been handed over to the army for deployment, Fernandes acknowledged that India has established alternative nuclear command centers to ensure retaliation from a nuclear strike and has set up nuclear shelters and bunkers to protect officials in case of an attack. “We have established more than one [nuclear control] nerve center,” Fernandes told The Press Trust of India. “India as a declared nuclear-weapon state has been on this job from day one.”

The Agni I has a range of up to 700 kilometers (435 miles), and the Agni II has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). Each is capable of carrying payloads of 1,000 kg.

U.S. Cautions Restraint

Responding to Pakistan’s missile tests, the United States continued to urge India and Pakistan to “take steps to restrain their nuclear-weapon and missile programs, including no operational deployment of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles,” Department of State spokesperson Richard Boucher said during a press briefing Oct. 14. The United States is also encouraging both countries to begin a dialogue on “confidence-building measures that could reduce the likelihood that such weapons would ever be used,” Boucher added. Boucher’s comments followed meetings between Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Pakistani officials in Islamabad Oct. 6. Near the end of the month India announced some dozen “peace” proposals and Pakistan was deciding how to respond.



South Asia’s ballistic missile competition moved to a new phase in October. Amid news that India’s Agni I and II ballistic missiles were ready for deployment and had been handed over to the army...

India, Pakistan Trade Barbs Over Nukes

Karen Yourish

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that Pakistan shared its nuclear technology with other countries, namely North Korea. “All our [nuclear] assets are under strict control,” Musharraf asserted Sept. 25 at a gathering in Ottawa organized by the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. “I can guarantee they will not fall in the wrong hands.”

The Pakistani president rejected charges that “lower ranks” of the country’s military could be passing nuclear information to other countries or possible terrorists. He admitted having had “defense relations with North Korea” but said those were limited to surface-to-air missiles with conventional warheads. The U.S. government has been unable to prove reports that Pakistan’s Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) engaged in a nuclear-for-missile swap with North Korea. (See ACT, September 2003.)

Earlier in the day, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee raised the allegations against Pakistan before the UN General Assembly in New York. He said member states should be “particularly concerned at the various recent revelations about clandestine transfers of weapons of mass destruction and their technologies. We face the frightening prospect of these weapons and technologies falling into the hands of terrorists.” The prime minister went on to criticize international conventions such as the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for their inability to reign in such exchanges. “Surely,” he argued, “something needs to be done about the helplessness of international regimes in preventing such transactions, which clearly threaten international security.”

“The same regimes expend considerable energy in imposing a variety of discriminatory technology-denial restrictions on responsible states,” the prime minister said.

India and Pakistan have refused to join the NPT or the CTBT, both of which would open up their nuclear arsenals to greater scrutiny. The two countries shocked the world in May 1998 when they detonated a series of nuclear devices weeks apart from each other.

In an address to the General Assembly Sept. 25, Musharraf attacked India for embarking on a “massive buildup” of its conventional and nonconventional military capabilities and warned countries who “oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” to review their decisions to offer major strategic systems to India.

India is seeking Washington’s blessing to buy the U.S.-Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile system from Israel. In August, the U.S. government gave Israel the green light to sell three Phalcon airborne early-warning radar command and control systems to India for an estimated $1 billion.

The Pakistani president warned that “sustainable security in South Asia requires India and Pakistan to institute measures to ensure mutual nuclear restraint and a conventional arms balance.” India’s interest in purchasing new weapons systems, he said, “will destabilize South Asia and erode strategic deterrence.”

President George W. Bush met with Musharraf Sept. 24 and had lunch with Vajpayee. According to the Department of State, the president discussed cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and support for the war on terror with both of the leaders. Musharraf said he raised concerns over India nuclear weapons purchases during his meeting with Bush.

India Consolidates Its Nuclear Force

The Political Council of India’s Nuclear Command Authority met Sept. 1 for the first time since it was established in January (See ACT, January/February 2003). The council, headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and set up to formulate political principles and administrative arrangements to manage India’s nuclear arsenal, took action to transfer ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons from India’s military services to the Strategic Forces Command now in charge of the country’s nuclear arsenal. “These decisions will consolidate India’s nuclear deterrence,” a statement issued after the meeting said.






Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that Pakistan shared its nuclear technology with other countries, namely North Korea. “

The Independence-Dependence Paradox: Stability Dilemmas in South

Feroz Hassan Khan

Has a new era of détente and stability emerged in South Asia five years after India and Pakistan first openly tested nuclear weapons? In the process, have India and Pakistan effectively demonstrated the value of nuclear weapons in deterring war? Deterrence optimists claim that fear of the ultimate weapon has restrained the otherwise rough actors who have been at each others’ throats more often than any other nuclear neighbors in the nuclear age. Empirical evidence also suggests that the region has been spared from major wars, despite recurrent crises during the past two decades.

Deterrence pessimists, however, dispute that nuclear weapons have had a stabilizing impact in the region. Indeed, the advent of nuclear weapons has witnessed increased tensions, a growing arms race, and a half-dozen crises nearing war. The region has come close to full blows at least twice since the open 1998 nuclear weapons tests—in 1999 and 2001-2002—and thrice earlier in the covert nuclear period—in 1984, 1986-1987, and 1989-1990. In fact, the three most recent crises—in 1990, 1999, and 2001-2002—only avoided escalating into a full-scale war because of intense U.S. diplomacy.

In fact, it could be argued that the deterrence equation in South Asia now implicitly depends on U.S. intervention. In essence, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear policies involve what might be called the “independence-dependence paradox.” These two proud countries have attempted to wean themselves from outside support by using nuclear weapons. But this strategy has ironically served to make them more dependent on other powers who are forced to mitigate the consequences of this arms race. No other country has played a more crucial role than the United States.

In many ways, this paradox does more to explain the difficulty in constraining conflicts that threaten to involve the two countries’ nuclear arsenals than the much ballyhooed “stability-instability” paradox. That term originated during the Cold War when analysts such as Glenn Snyder and Robert Jervis sought to explain why, in the first nuclear age, the superpowers managed to avoid conventional armed conflicts that could have precipitated into nuclear exchange, instead using proxy wars to gain advantage over the other.1 In recent years, many theorists have sought to apply the Cold War term to the standoff between India and Pakistan.2 But that has only highlighted the crucial differences between the Cold War and the new, complex realities in South Asia.

In the case of India and Pakistan, nuclear weapons are entangled with bitter regional disputes, exacerbating the instability half of the original stability-instability paradox. Yet, the other half—stability—is still evolving and has yet to mature.3 Because the issues concerned are critical to India’s and Pakistan’s core national identities, the two states have exercised force and coerced each other several times, pushing crises to the brink. De-escalation has, more often than not, required successful, outside (read, U.S.) intervention. Having achieved requisite nuclear deterrence, neither side is prepared to concede to the other, each testing the vulnerability of the other in a game of “chicken.” This brinkmanship strategy has placed the region into a delicate balance whose repeated crises have only made it more dependent on the United States.

Yet, even as India and Pakistan count on U.S. intervention to restrain its adversary and ensure stability, paradoxically they are adamant about their professed independence in nuclear matters. Historically, the two South Asian states developed their nuclear arsenals much against the will and nonproliferation efforts of the West. Even today, India and Pakistan take little heed of outside powers as they develop and possibly deploy strategic weapons. That attitude has constrained the ability of the United States to promote stability, especially in the early phases of a crisis or a potential war.4

Nuclear Weapons as a Means of Achieving Strategic Independence

Underlying India’s and Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons was their quest for genuine independence, which began in the wake of painful experiences with outside powers: first, under British rule and, later, under the umbrella of Soviet and U.S.-led alliances in 1960 and the early 1970s. In particular, the South Asian states pursued the nuclear option after repeated defeats on the conventional battlefield and perceived abandonment by outside allies. For India, its loss to China in a 1962 border conflict proved decisive; for Pakistan, its twin losses to India in 1965 and 1971 pushed it down the nuclear path. Nuclear weapons were intended to replace outside dependence and were seen as a source of security and political independence. Stephen Cohen has likened Pakistan’s strategic decisions to those of Israel: “Both [Israel and Pakistan] sought an entangling alliance with various outside powers (at various times, Britain, France, China and the U.S.), both ultimately concluded that outsiders could not be trusted in a moment of extreme crisis, and this led them to develop nuclear weapons.”5

Soon after embarking on its nuclear program, Pakistan formally bid farewell to the U.S.-led Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and Central Treaty Organization alliances and joined India as a member of the Non-aligned Movement. Pakistan nevertheless slowed down open development of nuclear weapons owing to its need to ensure a reliable delivery system for nuclear weapons as well as maintaining good relations with the United States. This was formally crystallized in 1985 through a U.S. law known as the Pressler amendment, after its sponsor, Senator Larry Pressler (R-S.D.). That law effectively tied Pakistan’s purchase of F-16 fighter jets to a presidential certification that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons.6 That meant Pakistan had to calibrate its strategic policy carefully, keeping its nuclear weapons development discreet and a short screwdriver’s turn away from operation.

India likewise continued its nuclear weapons development in secret although, after conducting a “peaceful nuclear explosion” in 1974, India publicly denied that it was proceeding to develop a nuclear- weapon capability. Until the 1998 nuclear tests, both countries remained ambiguous about the status of their nuclear weapons programs. In rhetorical terms, both sides frequently used phrases such as “peaceful nuclear program” and “keeping open the nuclear option,” implying commitment to “not only [retaining] freedom of action in the narrow nuclear-strategic realm but also the wider principle of state sovereignty in international relations.”7 In the context of the larger strategic policy, a nuclear deterrent was said to fulfill various objectives: dissuade the adversary from contemplating aggression; deter potential enemies; increase bargaining leverage; reduce dependence on allies; and acquire military independence by reducing dependence on external sources of military hardware.8

Threatening Instability and Engaging the United States

Before the introduction of nuclear weapons to South Asia, the United States had lesser stakes in resolving the Indo-Pakistani rivalry. The last serious and proactive attempt made by the United States was in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy sent Ambassador Averell Harriman as special envoy to the region on a fact-finding mission. South Asia then had come into U.S. focus primarily due to several developments in the region that related to Cold War dynamics, including the 1960 shooting of a U-2 spy plane that had departed from its base in Peshawar, Pakistan, and the growing Indo-Chinese problems that eventually led to the India-China war in October 1962.

In regard to the Indo-Pakistani dispute, Harriman concluded that the Kashmir problem was too intractable.9 After Kennedy’s assassination, and especially during the Johnson administration, other issues and events lessened U.S. interest in the region.10 From then until about the end of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union managed to keep the standoff within bounds. But as the superpower conflict was winding down, both India and Pakistan were moving apace with their nuclear programs. As their capabilities increased, they began testing each others’ limits. An examination of the five South Asian crises over the past two decades reveals that India and Pakistan managed earlier crises without overt outside intervention, but as their capabilities increased, the level of crises also worsened. In fact, each crisis was more severe than the previous one, and the United States incrementally became more involved.

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration quietly urged India and Pakistan to back down over crises, such as India’s 1984 occupation of the Siachin glacier and India’s 1986-1987 attempt to revive plans for a “preventive war” in the garb of a military exercise, known as Brasstacks.11 But the regional leaders themselves made the overt gestures, such as President Zia ul- Haq’s famous cricket diplomacy during the 1986-1987 crisis. In the three crises during the 1990s, on the other hand, the United States has been directly engaged, from Deputy National Security Adviser Robert Gates in 1990-1991 to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot in 1999 and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in 2001-2002.

The last few years following India’s and Pakistan’s overt nuclear tests show that nuclear deterrence has not prevented crisis. This fact was evident most notably in the 1999 Kargil crisis and in the crises of 2001-2002. In 1999 the Kargil crisis came under the clear shadow of demonstrated nuclear capability and a much-trumpeted bilateral meeting in the spring of that year at Lahore. Pakistan sponsored an attack across the Line of Control and captured an area in the vicinity of Kargil that threatened a strategic highway in northern parts of disputed Kashmir, which triggered the crisis. From Pakistan’s perspective, this was a continuum of the Kashmir dynamics that was dragging on regardless of other developments in the region.

For the rest of the world, there was a new reality in South Asia. After demonstrating their nuclear capabilities, India and Pakistan were required to manage their neighborly relations differently. In the view of some analysts, Pakistan might have overestimated the value of its nuclear deterrence by hoping that India’s response to the Kargil crisis would be tempered because it feared nuclear escalation.12 Although Pakistan’s official version of the event is ambiguous and muted on some questions, from hindsight and available published reports it can be concluded that Pakistan’s military assessment grossly underestimated India’s response as well as the diplomatic fallout. The Kargil episode illustrated the limits of nuclear dependence. Nuclear deterrence might assure security from an ultimate aggression but does not free the state to pursue a course of causing “deliberate instability” at a lower level.

The other major crisis since the 1998 tests began with the 2001 terrorist attack against the Indian parliament. On December 13, 2001,terrorists attacked the Indian parliament. India accused Pakistan of complicity and mobilized conventional forces and demanded that Islamabad cease support to insurgents in Kashmir and hand over leading militants—essentially coercing Islamabad to throw in the towel. By deploying troops along the Pakistan border and posing a physical threat to Pakistan, India compelled the United States to view the Kashmir insurgency on a par with terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In turn, Pakistan matched India with a reciprocal deployment. By mid-May 2002, another crisis erupted when terrorists attacked an Indian army camp in Kashmir. This time, the crisis reached the brink of war, a situation unprecedented since the 1971 war. Islamabad then further fueled the crisis by conducting three missile tests in late May 2002. Simultaneously, Pakistan threatened to withdraw forces that were deployed on its western border in support of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and hinted at requesting the withdrawal of the U.S. base at Jacobabad in Pakistan if war with India broke out.13

These moves not only sent a message to India but also affected the United States and other Western countries, kindling fear that the countries might pass the nuclear threshold if conventional war broke out. But Islamabad also sought to avoid panic and thus offered peaceful reassurance to both India and the United States.14 The United States acted to calm the crisis through phone calls from President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to the leaders of India and Pakistan and then by sending Armitage and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to the region. These actions were largely responsible for preventing escalation.

Cold War wisdom suggests that, when two states have the capability to assure each others’ destruction, the cost of war and the risk of inadvertent escalation must outweigh any potential gains either state could countenance.15 India and Pakistan, however, have paid some costs; but it remains unclear if either side has learned the lessons, if any, and what costs are at stake. India believes that, in 2001-2002, it successfully compelled the United States to act and extract a public commitment from Pakistan to end support for militants in Kashmir. Yet, India continues to believe it has space to wage a limited conventional war that it can win. Pakistan believes that its policy of reciprocal deployment and deterrent signaling, such as testing missiles, prevented India from going any further and that the risk of nuclear escalation checkmates any conventional adventure India might contemplate. It nevertheless took 10 months of mobilization and force deployment for India finally to conclude that the risks and potential cost of a general conflict “trumped any desire to resolve the Kashmir dispute by force.”16

Still, as both sides fell back to their respective positions, they repeated their familiar pattern: India alleged that Pakistan supported militant infiltration into India, then Pakistan denied this, and so India refused to start a dialogue. Once again it fell to the United States to goad both sides into some sort of thaw.17 Finally on April 17, 2003, after procrastinating for several months, Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee held out a hand of friendship. Since then, both sides have shown flexibility and cautiously crawled back to the basics of state-to-state relations: exchanging envoys, resuming bus service, easing some visa issues, and other small steps. But so far, they have shied away from tackling major issues, especially the core issue of Kashmir, which both states believe belongs rightfully to them. Although the recent efforts are positive, the fear remains that terrorists in the region might strike and blow away the fledgling peace steps at any moment. But there is still hope that more comprehensive bilateral talks might begin at some point.

A Strategy of Brinkmanship

In the final analysis, the nuclear reality and the overall political and strategic framework make a war infeasible for both countries. India has assured asymmetric destruction—both conventional and nuclear—in its favor. India’s aim is to crush the insurgency in Kashmir, keep the limited conventional war option open, and hold Pakistan under threat of massive nuclear retaliation in the event Pakistan contemplates the threat or use of the nuclear card. This concept assumes that India could design a war with limited scope, retain escalation control, and thereby erode Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent against conventional aggression by calling its nuclear bluff.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s strategy is to deny India space for waging a conventional war and to be prepared to expand any war, retain the nuclear use option, and make costs exceed any benefits that India might calculate—basically, to deny India victory on the cheap. Even if Pakistan risks survival in a prolonged all-out war due to structural asymmetries with India, Islamabad keeps close to its chest a repertoire of strategies to offset and “design around” India’s numerical conventional force advantage and its own geophysical vulnerabilities. In such a deterrence construct, both sides seek room to elbow each other out, engage in brinkmanship, and test the others’ resolve.

Professor Robert Powell from the University of California at Berkeley has explained the conundrum of nuclear deterrence stability within the dynamics of brinkmanship.18 States might seek to exert coercive pressure on each other by raising the risk that events will spiral out of control. How much risk they are willing to bear will be limited by the relative value each state places on the issues at stake relative to the risks involved. This logic implies that brinkmanship is not reckless behavior but a means to test the resolve of an opponent and run risks to outbid the other, especially in situations where all-out wars are prohibitively costly. Powell also asserts that brinkmanship crises only occur if the balance of resolve is uncertain. When each state believes that it is likely to be more resolute than the other state, then each might escalate in the expectation that the other will back down.19

This logic is vividly applicable in the case of South Asia. Both countries hurl themselves into crises that deepen, escalate, and reach a point of spiraling out of control, only to unwind with outside intervention—notably by the United States. One author has suggested that “India and Pakistan brinkmanship is not wild-eyed but designed to meet policy objectives…. Pakistan ratchets up tensions to garner external (mainly U.S.) pressure on India to come to [the] bargaining table, India uses coercive diplomacy to bring pressure on Pakistan to halt support for militants…. In using brinkmanship both India and Pakistan want ultimately [to be] held back while having the United States push their interests forward.” 20 But this strategy leaves the region in a dangerous limbo because the decision is left to the United States to determine whether it intervenes or not.21

The South Asian protagonists have thus become more dependent than ever on the United States. Yet, much to the chagrin of the region, the United States has neither the time nor the patience to accord priority to the region, which President Bill Clinton once described as the “most dangerous place.”22 Consequently, a dangerous pattern has set in: India and Pakistan push a crisis to the brink, anticipating U.S. intervention, and the United States might take its time in the belief that South Asian crises are manageable through “firefighting diplomacy” and that there is no urgency to launch a proactive process of conflict resolution. The brinkmanship is not aimed to fight a war but to win the crisis, and both hope that the U.S. intervention would be helpful. One scholar has noted, “Each has misread its closer ties to the United States as evidence that Washington has embraced its perspective. Each has treated the intense engagement and military presence of the United States as insurance against escalation to war.”23

The outcome of the latest crisis, in fact, offers a cautionary tale for the future and a new twist on the stability-instability paradox. India believed that ensuring nuclear stability provided space to consider a limited war and coerce a nuclear neighbor. But a semblance of instability—through missile signaling (dubbed as missile antics by India)—worked to deter the adversary as well as induce diplomacy. War was prevented, but this set a dangerous precedent. India might believe that conventional force mobilization did not prove sufficiently credible in this crisis; the next time it would test the resolve by seeking a higher threat that might include waging a war that would certainly spiral out of control.

The U.S. Role

The United States faces several challenges in the region. First, it must balance its interests regarding India and Pakistan with its global responsibilities. U.S. interests are different, less intense, and more sporadic than those of local actors, which serve to limit U.S. influence even though U.S. clout in the region has never been as influential as it is now, especially with India. The second challenge for the United States is to manage the tension between its twin objectives of war prevention and nonproliferation. The larger U.S. objective is to prevent nuclear states from going to war and prevent war-prone states from going nuclear. Efforts to solve regional problems, such as technical assistance for nuclear command, control, and communication in South Asia, might create undesirable precedents. Third, the United States faces a dilemma in how to balance between India and Pakistan, best exemplified by the difficulties it faces in providing military aid. U.S. efforts to increase one country’s security might increase the other side’s insecurity, such as providing F-16s to Pakistan to redress her air force deficiency or missile defenses to India to protect against Pakistan’s potent missile force.24

Clearly, the United States is preoccupied with other global issues, so it is mostly up to India and Pakistan to resolve their problems and reduce their dependence on outside powers. Both sides must initiate nuclear risk reduction measures; expand the existing links to include links with respective nuclear command authorities; revive the spirit of the existing confidence-building measures and initiate new ones; and expand economic ties to create more local incentives for cooperation.

Meanwhile, the United States can play its part by engaging now rather than waiting to take part in crisis management. The next South Asia crisis is likely to test the “uncertainty of resolve”25 of both India and Pakistan, and the threshold and time of crises is likely to be compressed, leaving no time for scheduling a crisis management visit to the region. At a minimum, the United States should appoint a high-level ambassador to the region, as Kennedy did with Harriman in 1962, along with a strong team of U.S. experts on the region. The diplomacy process should start at two levels. At the first level, the United States must not only encourage India and Pakistan to proceed on bilateral substantive talks on a wide range of political and strategic issues, including risk reduction measures and economic links, but also monitor and record the substance of the work in progress. At another level, U.S. experts should produce a fact-finding report that the United States would use to prepare a “road map” and methodology for engaging the region that must include not just India and Pakistan but the dynamics emerging from the Afghanistan situation. A constructive, broad-based engagement by the United States— including political resolution to the conflict, strategic restraints on conventional and nuclear forces, and harnessing trade—would enable the region to maintain a path of stability and also calibrate their self-imposed paradoxes.





1. Glenn Snyder, “The Balance of Power and the Balance of Terror,” in The Balance of Power, ed. Paul Seabury (San Francisco: Chandler, 1965). Robert Jervis, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989).

2. Michael Krepon “Nuclear Risk Reduction: Is Cold War Experience Applicable to Southern Asia?” in The Stability-Instability Paradox: Nuclear Weapons and Brinksmanship in South Asia, eds. Michael Krepon and Chris Gagne, Henry L. Stimson Center paper no. 38, June 2001.

3. Feroz Hassan Khan, “Challenges to Nuclear Stability in South Asia,” Nonproliferation Review, vol. 10, no. 1 (Spring 2003) pp. 59-73.

4. Peter Lavoy and Feroz Hassan Khan, Presentation made to the Fifth Nuclear Stability Round Table Seminar on “Strategic Stability in a Turbulent World” at Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Virginia, April 28-29, 2003.

5. Stephen Cohen, India: Emerging Power (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2001), p. 204.

6. The Pressler amendment required the U.S. president to certify each year to Congress that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons.

7. Devin Hagerty, “Preventing Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia,” Asia Society (New York, 1995).

8. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, “Nuclear Developments in Pakistan: Future Directions,” in Nuclear Non-Proliferation in India and Pakistan: South Asia Perspectives, eds. PR Chari, Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, Iftikharuzzaman, Regional Center for Strategic Studies, Colombo (New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1996), pp. 131-132.

9. U.S. Department of State, “Report of the Harriman Commission,” pp. 5-8, S/S Files. South Asia, DSR, NA, cited by Dennis Kux, The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2001) p. 135.

10. Dennis Kux, The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies

11. Scott D. Sagan, “The Perils of Proliferation in South Asia,” in South Asia in 2020: Future Strategic Balances and Alliances, ed. Michael Chambers (Carlisle Barracks Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, Army War College, 2002), pp. 197-199.

12. Lee Feinstein, “Avoiding Another Close Call in South Asia,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2002, pp. 3-4.

13. “The Delicate Balance in South Asia,” in Strategic Survey 2002/2003 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press), p. 210.

14. Bruce Blair, “Alerting in Crisis and Conventional War,” in Managing Nuclear Operations, eds. Ashton Carter et al. (Washington DC: Brookings, 1987), p. 76. Around the first week of June 2002, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf made reconciliatory statements that nuclear-weapon use was unthinkable and no sane person could think of using nuclear weapons.

15. Michael Krepon, “The Stability-Instability Paradox, Misperception, and Escalation Control in South Asia,” Henry L. Stimson Center paper, May 2003.

16. “The Delicate Balance in South Asia,” p. 206.

17. After the de-escalation, the U.S. Department of State applied considerable pressure on both sides to start a dialogue. Assistant Secretary Christina Rocca and Director of Policy Planning Richard Haass made several visits to the region to urge both sides, especially India, to commence a dialogue. Despite the thaw, at the time of this writing, there are hints but no official commitment to start a comprehensive dialogue.

18. Robert Powell, “Nuclear Deterrence Theory, Nuclear Proliferation, and National Missile Defense,” International Security, vol. 7, no. 4 (Spring 2003), pp. 86-118.

19. Ibid, p. 93.

20. Satu Limaye, “Mediating Kashmir: A Bridge Too Far,” The Washington Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1 (Winter 2002-2003), p. 159.

21. For example, in the 2002 crisis, it took two weeks for Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to schedule a visit to the region when war was imminent and could have broken out under sheer momentum of the dynamics of mobilizations and deployments.

22. Judith Miller and James Risen, “The United States is Worried About an Increased Threat of Nuclear Conflict Over Kashmir,” The New York Times, August 8, 2000.

23. Polly Nayak, “Reducing Collateral Damage to Indo-Pakistani Relations from the War on Terrorism,” Policy Brief no. 107 (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, September 2002), p. 2.

24. Conclusions presented by Peter Lavoy in the Fifth Nuclear Stability Round Table Seminar on “Strategic Stability in a Turbulent World” at Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Virginia, April 28-29, 2003.

25. Powell, “Nuclear Deterrence Theory, Nuclear Proliferation, and National Missile Defense,” pp. 91-100.


Brigadier General Feroz Hassan Khan is the former director of arms control and disarmament affairs in the Strategic Plans Division of the Joint Services Headquarters of Pakistan. He is currently a visiting faculty member at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.



Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls

Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut

Reducing nuclear and other prolifer- ation dangers in South Asia is a crucial goal for the international community. Thus far, maximum international attention regarding India and Pakistan has focused on two approaches: one, encouraging bilateral dialogue and nuclear risk-reduction measures, and two, exhorting them to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). After September 11, 2001, international attention has expanded to include discussion of the two states’ abilities to secure their nuclear weapons and fissile materials.

Still, so far the international community has focused primarily on controlling technology trade and transfers to India and Pakistan. Experts have far less understanding of the motivations or policies of export restraints in the two countries.1 Yet, growing indigenous capabilities make it imperative for the focus to expand to include controls on trade and technology transfers from India and Pakistan.

Several reasons justify this expanded focus. First, as Table 1 shows, the two countries have significant nuclear stockpiles and other capabilities that are outside International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. Second, until now, both countries have unilaterally controlled sensitive exports through broad regulatory powers exercised by the federal governments and by keeping the relevant technology sectors within state-owned enterprises. This situation appears to be changing as economic liberalization leads to a greater role by the private sector. Third, the leadership of both countries is facing significant domestic pressure to capitalize on the commercial and/or strategic potential of their respective technological capabilities, mostly through trade and transfers.

Both India and Pakistan, as targets of existing technology control agreements, remain outside the ongoing multilateral efforts to harmonize and coordinate trade and transfers of sensitive technologies. As such, they have no formal stakes in and obligations toward international efforts to regulate the diffusion of sensitive technologies. For instance, both remain outside the NPT, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). They have not signed the CTBT but state their willingness to participate in discussions for a fissile material cut-off treaty. Still, Pakistan has signed 10 of the 12 international conventions on physical protection and nuclear security while India has signed all 12. Further, both are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and of the Biological Weapons Convention but remain outside the Australia Group—a voluntary group of countries that work to harmonize export controls on chemical and biological materials.

The possibility of secondary proliferation from states that have recently obtained nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons capability is more than a hypothetical concern. Recent assessments and press reports suggest that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea have been able to circumnavigate the multilateral export control regimes in two ways: one, by focusing on traditional supplier states for mass-market, dual-use equipment and materials, and two, by complementing such acquisitions via a parallel focus on emerging supplier states, such as India and Pakistan, for materials and technology integration. For instance, the Iraqi chemical weapons program obtained the majority of its equipment and materials from western Europe but secured additional materials from a range of developing states, such as Egypt, Brazil, Singapore, and India.2 Similarly, North Korea’s centrifuge program was reportedly helped by prototypes, designs, and personnel training from Pakistan3 and Germany.4 Finally, Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz5 reportedly consists of centrifuges based on western European design, but it has benefited from an unspecified degree of assistance from Russia6 and Pakistan.7

These examples highlight secondary proliferation as a critical challenge facing the nonproliferation community. How does one ensure that emerging supplier states that are not part of multilateral export control regimes do not undermine the regimes’ effectiveness by becoming alternate sources for determined proliferators? This dilemma is particularly acute regarding India and Pakistan.

The encouraging news so far is that, in spite of being outside many regimes, India and Pakistan have unilaterally developed national policies in many of these areas to regulate their sensitive exports, assured the international community that they will not allow weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-relevant materials and technologies to spread beyond their borders, and become progressively more open to learning from other states’ best practices on export controls. Nevertheless, potentially troublesome issues remain, especially regarding their enforcement record and resources devoted to this task. Additionally, in the case of Pakistan, there are serious questions as to its political commitment regarding export restraint. We provide below a brief overview of export control policies and processes in India and in Pakistan, challenges in each country, and opportunities for improvement. We conclude with some preliminary recommendations for the international community to consider in its effort to engage India and Pakistan on the issue of secondary proliferation.

Challenges and Opportunities in India

India’s export control system is fairly well developed by international standards, and its control lists and practices are increasingly convergent with those of multilateral export control regimes.8 Some important weaknesses in its implementation remain, however, as was demonstrated with the recent case of NEC Engineering Private Ltd. In this case, acting on a tip from U.S. intelligence sources, New Delhi pursued an Indian company for exporting prohibited items—precursor chemicals and missile fuel—to Iraq via shell companies in Jordan and Dubai. (See ACT, March 2003.) Although the Indian government ultimately imposed severe penalties on NEC, the case highlighted gaps in its legal framework and enforcement practices and served to tarnish New Delhi’s claims of having a strong export control system.

NEC’s ability to obtain export licenses with false documentation and declarations suggests that procedures for scrutiny of end-user certificates and other documents by customs officials are inadequate.9 Since 1997, there has been more focus on training customs officials and border guards in identifying controlled dual-use chemicals and precursors. Clearly, there is a need to complement this with more rigorous upgrades in equipment and training, especially for nuclear and missile technologies. Our discussions with the implementing officials suggest that India will also need a larger cadre of scientists who can contribute to technical assessments and review of export license applications.

Further, the NEC case demonstrates the need to introduce to India “catchall controls” like those adopted by the principal members of multilateral regimes (including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan, etc.) during the 1990s to prevent companies from circumventing existing laws or exploiting loopholes in the implementing regulations. Such controls seek to block particular companies or individuals from having access to an export and go beyond the control lists currently adopted by multilateral regimes. A typical catchall clause places a greater burden of proof on exporters by prohibiting companies from exporting goods, services, or technologies to those end-users or transshippers that the company has “reason to believe,” or “knows,” or “is informed” might be engaged in a WMD program.

Until the NEC case, Indian exporters merely had to claim that they “did not have reason to believe” that their clients (end-users) were engaged in WMD-relevant work to avoid liability for exporting sensitive items to suspect end-users. Our discussions with Indian officials indicate that they have introduced additional stipulations that increase the responsibility of Indian exporters to verify the credentials of the end-user and to ascertain the likely uses of that item. But the officials are reluctant to introduce catchall controls for two reasons. First, the number of exporters is still relatively small, and the officials feel confident about warding off the potential problem cases before they result in future violations, as in the case of NEC. Second, they feel that introducing catchall controls at this stage of economic liberalization would scare away small- to medium-sized domestic exporters that lack technical and financial resources to perform rigorous and ongoing checks on their end-users.

Finally, the NEC case demonstrates that India’s export control bureaucracy needs to place additional emphasis on security and nonproliferation considerations, instead of its current focus on revenue collection. Thus, the Department of Customs has pursued the NEC case through its Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which is otherwise tasked to gather pre-shipment intelligence, coordinate postshipment verifications, and conduct investigations and interdictions.

India has important strategic incentives to beef up its export control system. The burgeoning chemical, pharmaceutical, and software sectors have strong reasons to preempt adverse economic outcomes through deliberate or inadvertent export violations in the future. Further, as the economic liberalization program begun in 1991 gathers momentum, the government appears conscious of the growing pressure to open up nuclear energy, civilian space, and defense sectors to private participation. The state-owned enterprises, which control much of the sensitive technology, have also begun to focus on profits and greater export orientation. As such, better codification of export-control regulations, and greater government outreach to the private and public enterprises, will ensure that the newfound enthusiasm for exports does not result in questionable transactions that are justified by ignorance of the existing regulations.

In its pursuit to make India a globally connected knowledge economy, the government has promoted exports by introducing self-assessment of value of goods by the industry, faster customs clearance, and online application submission. These changes are essentially aimed at promoting trade, but they can also have positive implications for proliferation control by providing the government digitized databases on export licenses, exporters, and end-users of Indian exports. India is now keen to balance trade promotion and export controls, promote trade with members of multilateral export control regimes, and minimize the negative impact of “deemed export” regulations10 in the United States and western Europe. These goals have influenced the government to deepen and widen its cooperation with the U.S. counterpart agencies, aimed to make its export control system more transparent and effective by international standards.

One indication of this growing awareness is that, apart from the Ministry of External Affairs, other government agencies have also begun to pay sustained attention to international trends in technology regulation. For instance, the Department of Defense Research and Development, which serves as the chief defense technology generator for the government, is encouraging its midlevel scientists to develop secondary expertise in export controls, multilateral regimes, new ideas in monitoring and verification of technology transfers (both into and out of India), and follow the trajectories of technology exports and export controls in the European Union, China, Russia, Israel, and the United States. 11

The next priority for the government is to build effective partnerships with the domestic industry and to ensure that national regulations are proactively modified and that enforcement capability stays abreast of industry and technology trends. Accordingly, the government has identified the need for external assistance in areas such as internal compliance programs for Indian industry, automated licensing, customs training, and new modes of government-industry interaction. By far the most sustained dialogue in this regard is with the United States, with at least nine interactions between Indian export control delegations and officials from the Office of Nonproliferation Export Control Cooperation (NEC) in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security since 1999.

Future Indo-U.S. discussion is likely to include issues of growing international concern regarding proliferation of expertise from India (controls on intangible technology transfers), transit and transshipment controls, and security of imported technologies and information (re-exports, data privacy, and firewalls between civilian and weapons programs).12 In addition, India should be persuaded to introduce catchall controls so that its export-oriented industry is required to maintain vigilance about the credentials and activities of end-users and not get away with pleading ignorance. Finally, India needs to establish databases that cross-reference government licenses, exporters, and end-users to enable data mining and build risk profiles of exporters.

Challenges and Opportunities in Pakistan

In terms of formal policy, process, and procedures, Pakistan’s export control system appears inadequately developed by international standards, and there are several areas that are in serious need of attention.

Pakistan needs to reduce the number of exceptions and exemptions granted to designated government agencies. For instance, although all private exporters and importers are required to register with the Export Promotion Bureau prior to submitting license applications, all federal and provincial governments, departments, and authorized public sector agencies are exempt from this requirement. Further, a 2000 law exempts “any goods, stores or equipment when sold abroad on Government to Government basis and exported under an export authorization issued by the Director General of Defense Purchases or by any other officer authorized by the Ministry of Defense in this behalf.” It also permits the “Vice Chairman” of the Export Promotion Bureau to waive the regulations on any enterprise. This authorized capacity to bypass the formal process is a major area of concern, particularly as no information is available on how frequently such authority has been exercised in the past, what entities have been exempted, and if any official oversight mechanism exists to audit whether this authority to grant exemptions has been abused to the detriment of Pakistan’s security or its international obligations.

The government also provides little information about its enforcement record on export controls. This includes a lack of information on the degree of institutional checks and balances, on civilian oversight over military decisions, and on steps to curb the dangers of deliberate or unauthorized diversion of WMD-relevant assets and trained personnel13 to domestic or external terrorist groups. In particular, Pakistan has yet to show that it has successfully prosecuted cases involving the interception of unauthorized shipments or used pre-license checks to uncover a noncompliant importing entity, leading to the rejection of the license application or additional punitive action.14

Moreover, Pakistan’s track record on proliferation calls into question the ability or desire of its leaders to fulfill its commitment to plug the remaining loopholes in its export control regime. This apparent ambivalence is best demonstrated by Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL). On March 24, 2003, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Changgwang Sinyong Corporation of North Korea for the transfer of items that fall under Category I of the MTCR and on KRL for receiving the shipment.15 Category I comprises complete rocket systems (including ballistic missiles and subsystems) and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram or greater payload to a distance of 300 kilometers or more, as well as specially designed production facilities for these systems. Moreover, some reports suggest that KRL has engaged in a “nuclear-for-missile” swap with North Korea, 16 although the U.S. government has determined that it does not have conclusive evidence to prove the nuclear component of this relationship.

Pakistan has denied any government complicity and now puzzlingly categorizes KRL as a “firm,” despite the fact that KRL has spearheaded nuclear weapons research for the government for decades. The disturbing conclusion is that either the government of Pakistan is complicit in the activities of KRL, is unable to regulate the activities of such entities, or both.

As in the case of India, it is important to understand the motivations that appear to underlie Pakistan’s behavior regarding its export control policy. The international community has regularly expressed its concerns about the dangers of Pakistan becoming a “failed state” and about the growing sympathy for militant Islamist causes among the Pakistani elite. The government and the elite dismiss these characterizations as Western- and/or Jewish-inspired and seek to counter them in the public arena. Accordingly, much of the information on Pakistan’s export control policies, on related issues of physical protection of nuclear facilities, and on the establishment of nuclear command and control infrastructure has been explicitly linked to Pakistan’s image as a responsible member of the nuclear club.

In light of the above, some areas for future development of export controls are readily apparent. First, the 2000 export control law that exempts Ministry of Defense agencies from its scope must be re-examined. In Pakistan, nuclear weapons, missiles, and related production facilities are directly controlled by the armed forces, with little or no oversight from the civilian leadership. Therefore, unless these exemptions are clarified or withdrawn, unlicensed export by Defense agencies would legally not be violations of domestic export control laws, especially if they are sanctioned by top military leaders who have the authority to bypass these regulations.

Second, the activities of KRL discussed earlier raise serious questions regarding the political commitment of the ruling elite to responsible export controls. Therefore, Pakistan and the international community need to go beyond the procedural developments in export controls to strengthen the nonproliferation culture among the elite. Given growing concerns about Pakistani scientists offering their services to WMD programs in suspect countries, perhaps the government could consider establishing a registry of retired and active scientists in order to track their contacts and activities.

Finally, Pakistan could strengthen its ability to prosecute those who violate the letter or the spirit of its export control laws through transfers of know-how and know-why. In economic literature, “know-how” refers to knowledge sufficient for operating and organizing a particular technology, while “know-why” refers to more valuable information that can help reproduce as well as innovate technology. Pakistan could accomplish this by introducing explicit prohibitions against intangible technology transfers. If Pakistani-U.S. export control cooperation gathers momentum, the latter could encourage discussion on each of these issues.


The cases of India and Pakistan require the international community to re-examine its approach to dealing with NPT violators in general and India and Pakistan in particular. Although the two South Asian neighbors are outside the accord, they need to be thought of differently. Thus far, the NPT-based categorization, wherein India and Pakistan are seen as Siamese twins, has driven the consensus that what is applicable to India will automatically apply to Pakistan and vice versa. Yet, as the above discussion reveals, the two countries differ markedly in terms of capabilities, their record on export control implementation, and overall political commitment to avoiding the spread of weapons technologies to other countries.

Second, the crucial question before the nonproliferation community relates to the issue of quid pro quo. If there can be no rapprochement with India and Pakistan (and Israel) in the current nonproliferation regime, how long and why should these countries be expected to abide by the expectation of restraint embodied in current international concerns about sensitive exports by nonmember states? Or should further incentives be provided for them to cooperate? One option could be to explore the costs and benefits of making these countries partial or full members of the NSG, the Australia Group, and the MTCR without requiring their accession to the NPT. Another could be to encourage these countries to make their export control systems identical to those of the NSG, Australia Group, and MTCR. In return, principal supplier states within the regimes would assist the civilian programs in these countries through technology transfers and co-development.

The current stalemate is particularly problematic in the case of India, where the international community has little leverage to deter it from engaging in risky behavior if it takes a political decision to do so. The response of the nonproliferation leaders to Chinese—and now Pakistani—proliferation has already sent conflicting signals to India. U.S. sanctions on China and Pakistan, for instance, have been no more than a slap on the wrist.

Finally, at the policy level, the cases of India, Pakistan, Israel, China, and Russia severely test the limits of the NPT-based classification of “proliferant” states. How can the United States and the regimes distinguish between non-NPT members who implement effective export controls versus NPT members who do not? These questions have acquired greater salience in light of the increased threat posed by terrorism and against the backdrop of the Bush administration’s approach to arms control, which favors pragmatism and building coalitions of “like-minded states” to tackle problems that threaten regional and global security.


Return to Text

Table 1. South Asian Rivals: Comparing India and Pakistan


Population a

148 million
1.04 billion

Land Area a

778,720 sq km
2,973,190 sq km

GDP (In Billions)

$59.7 b

Foreign Trade (2001) a



$18 billion
$98.3 billion

Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals

$151 million
$6.3 billion

Electronics $ Software

$100 million
$8.3 billion

Machinery $ Engineering

$5.7 billion

Entities Under U.S. Nonproliferation Sanctions after May 1998 Nuclear Tests e




Military Expenditure a


As % of GDP

$2.9 billion (4.8%)
$12.1 billion (2.4%)

Size of Armed Forces

1.3 million

Nuclear Capability d


Operating Nuclear Research Reactors (Under IAEA Safeguards)

3 (2)
6 (0)

Nuclear Power Plants (Under IAEA Safeguards)

2 (2)
14 (4)

Total Installed Capability

2,720 MWe

Uranium Enrichment Facilities (Under IAEA Safeguards)

4 (0)
2 (0)

Uranium Processing Facilities (Under IAEA Safeguards)

5 (0)
6 (partial on 2)

Reprocessing Facilities (Under IAEA Safeguards)

3 (0)
5 (partial on 1)

Heavy-Water Production Facilities (Under IAEA Safeguards)

2 (0)
8 (0)

Estimates of Nuclear Weapons


Estimates of Fissile Material
Note: These stockpiles include the above estimates of nuclear weapons each country possesses.

585-800 kilograms of HEU, plus 15-25 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium (could produce 3-5 weapons)

Unknown quantity of HEU, plus 225-370 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium (could produce 45-74 weapons)

Sources: a CIA World Factbook, 2002; b Factsheet, April 30, 2003, Economist Intelligence Unit;
Factsheet, May 12, 2003, Economist Intelligence Unit; d Joseph Cirincione, Jon Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar, eds., Deadly Arsenals, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; e U.S. Entities List (http://w3.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/pdf/744spir.pdf). Note: These numbers do not include nuclear reactors, enrichment and reprocessing facilities, and heavy water-production facilities, but they continue to be under U.S. sanctions.

Table 2. Export Controls in India and Pakistan

Export Controls in India
Export Controls in Pakistan

Atomic Energy Act, 1962

Import and Export Control Act (ICEC), 1950

Customs Act, 1962

Customs Act, 1950

Foreign Trade Development & Regulation (FTDR) Act, 1992

Pakistan Nuclear Safety & Radiation Protection Ordinance


Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2001


Under FTDR: Export & Import Policy Guidelines (2002-2007)

Under ICEC: Export Policy and Procedures Order, 2000

Under Customs Act: Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act (COFEPOSA), 1971


Licenses formally granted by Directorate General of Foreign Trade

Licenses formally granted by Export Promotion Bureau (Ministry of Commerce) and, in special cases, Ministry of Defense

Licensing decisions taken at periodic interdepartmental meetings

Technical review of license applications by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission/ Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority and Director General of Defense Purchases/ Ministry of Defense

Technical review of license applications by Department of Atomic Energy, Space, and Defense Research & Development

Enforcement by Department of Customs

Enforcement by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Central Board of Customs




This article draws from the authors’ project, “Strengthening Export Controls in India and Pakistan,” supported by the Ploughshares Fund. A full report of the project will be available in September 2003.

1. Lee Feinstein, “Avoiding Another Close Call in South Asia,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2002, pp. 3-8.

2. Bill Gertz, “Iraq Seeks Chemicals for Arms,” Washington Times, October 16, 2003; William Safire, “French Connection II,” The New York Times, March 20, 2003; Mark Erikson, “Germany’s Leading Role in Arming Iraq,” Asia Times, February 5, 2003.  

3. According to a June 2002 CIA report, in 1997, Pakistan obtained missile technology and parts from North Korea in return for high-speed centrifuges and how-to data on building and testing a uranium-triggered nuclear weapon. Seymour Hersh, “The Cold Test,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2003.

4. Report in “China Briefing,” Far Eastern Economic Review, May 8, 2003.

5. For a technical description of the Natanz facility, the Iranian nuclear weapons program, and the putative assistance from Pakistan, see Dale Grant, “The Pakistani (and the Iranian) Connection,” Defense Policy Review, vol. IX, no. 6 (April 7, 2003), pp. 1-12.

6. John Rossant, “The Next Nuclear Power: Iran?” Business Week Online, May 12, 2003.

7. According to Corey Hinderstein, “The (Natanz) site resembles heavy water plants found in Pakistan and contains a similar Z-shaped structure.” David Ensor, “U.S. Has Photos of Secret Iran Nuclear Sites,” CNN.com, December 13, 2002.

8. Seema Gahlaut, “Export Control Developments in India,” in To Supply or to Deny: Assessing Nonproliferation Export Controls in Five Supplier States, eds. Michael Beck et al. (New York: Kluwer, forthcoming).

9. “NEC-Chargesheet,” Press Trust of India, March 2, 2003; “NEC Used a UN Plan to Ship Material to Iraq,” Indian Express, February 27, 2003.

10. A U.S. university or industry that wishes to hire, say, an Indian professional to work on a program that deals with technologies and materials that are controlled under U.S. law will require a U.S. export license. India can facilitate this process by making all information about that individual’s past employment available to the U.S. entity.

11. This was evident in the authors’ discussions with Indian officials during June 2003, when they taught an intensive course, “Technology Regulations and Strategic Policy-Making in the 21st Century: Implications for India” at the Institute for Technology Management in Mussoorie, India. The attendees at the course were scientists selected by the Department of Defense Research and Development from its various laboratories across India. The scientific advisor to the defense minister participated in the class discussions during the last day of the course.

12. Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut, “Intangibles, Technology Trade, and India: Challenges in a Knowledge-Based Economy,” in The Knowledge Economy in India, Frank-Jürgen Richter and Parthasarathi Banerjee, eds. (London and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003), pp. 197-213.

13. David Albright and Holly Higgins, “A Bomb for the Ummah,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2003, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 49-55.

14. Pakistan’s pursuit of nuclear weapons-related capability continues to fuel international concerns. On April 30, 2003, a U.S. company pleaded guilty to illegal exports to “a Pakistani state company” that could have been used to develop nuclear weapons. “Pakistan: U.S. Company Pleads Guilty to Illegal Export,” Associated Press, April 30, 2003.

15. Rose Gordon, “North Korea, Pakistani Lab Sanctioned for Proliferation,” Arms Control Today, May 2003, p. 35.

16. Gaurav Kampani, “Second-Tier Proliferation: The Case of Pakistan and North Korea,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall/Winter 2002, pp. 107-116.


Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut co-direct the South Asia Program at the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia.



Bush Okays $3 Billion Aid Package to Pakistan,

Rose Gordon

President George W. Bush is asking Congress to approve a five-year $3 billion security and development aid package to Pakistan, half of which would go to “defense matters.”

Bush announced his plan while meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at Camp David June 24.

Prior to September 11, 2001, U.S. aid to Pakistan had shriveled considerably in response to Islamabad’s development of nuclear weapons. Yet, since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the White House has elevated Pakistan to the status of a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, leading to a significant increase in both military and economic aid to the South Asian nation. This was Musharraf’s fourth visit to the United States since September 11, 2001.

A senior Bush administration official, however, cautioned that the aid is dependent on whether Pakistan meets the expectations of the White House by countering terrorism and proliferation and enacting democracy. “I’m not calling those conditions, but let’s be realistic; three years down the road, if things are going badly in those areas, [the aid package is] not going to happen,” the official said in a press briefing shortly after Bush and Musharraf’s joint press conference at Camp David.

Concern that Pakistan might be aiding the proliferation of other non-nuclear-weapons states grew this March, when Pakistan’s nuclear weapons laboratory, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), was sanctioned by the United States for missile-related technology from North Korea. Some press reports suggested that North Korea had traded the missile technology to KRL in exchange for nuclear technology from the laboratory, although the State Department later denied such reports. (See ACT, May 2003.)

The senior official said that Musharraf assured Bush during their private meeting that he fully understood the U.S. view on proliferation, and he had also made a commitment not to have any “military-related” contact with North Korea. Musharraf also reiterated the Pakistani stance that such allegations against KRL were false during a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace the day after his meeting with Bush. He added that Pakistan has “never proliferated,” nor will it ever do so.

The two leaders also discussed relations between Pakistan and India, including Kashmir and a recent peace initiative by Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee. (See ACT, June 2003.) Bush said he “stand[s] by, ready to help” the peace process between India and Pakistan but that, ultimately, “the decision-makers will be the Pakistani government and the Indian government.”

Bush denied Islamabad’s long-standing request for the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying that they would not be a part of this aid package. In 1990, Washington halted the delivery of 28 F-16s it had previously promised to Pakistan, citing Islamabad’s inability to meet U.S. requirements that it did not have a “nuclear explosive device.” Pakistan was later reimbursed for the undelivered jets.

The senior official added that the United States is “perfectly willing to consider” upgrading the F-16s Pakistan already possesses but that Pakistan has many other defense needs that need to be met before new F-16 sales are taken up.



President George W. Bush is asking Congress to approve a five-year $3 billion security and development aid package to Pakistan, half of which would go to “defense matters.”

Slow Moving Diplomacy in South Asia Makes Headway

Rose Gordon

After more than a year and a half of silence, peppered by occasional threats and accusations, India and Pakistan are considering a range of options in order to re-establish ties that have been severely strained since the December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. These include assigning an ambassador to each other’s capital; resuming civil air, rail, and road links; hosting bilateral sporting events or other people-to-people exchanges; and making a serious effort to address the decades-old dispute over Kashmir.

The first hint of the possibility for improved relations between the two countries came from a speech by Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee while he was visiting the Indian-held portion of the Kashmir region April 18-19. Vajpayee spoke of “extending the hand of friendship” to Pakistan and of the possibility for new talks between the two countries. At a press conference before returning to New Delhi, however, he indicated that India has its own conditions, saying, “Let us see how Pakistan responds to this” and indicating that talks would depend on whether there is a decrease in the number of anti-India militants crossing from Pakistan into India’s portion of Kashmir.

Pakistan responded in a press briefing several days later, saying that it welcomed Vajpayee’s initiative and hoped that negotiations would begin immediately.

Diplomatic efforts were further bolstered by an April 28 telephone call from Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali to Vajpayee. According to statements by both leaders, the conversation focused on new peace possibilities between India and Pakistan. Following the telephone conversation, Pakistan released a number of Indian prisoners and suggested the resumption of bus services between Pakistan and India. India responded to these gestures by releasing Pakistani prisoners and approving a Delhi-Lahore bus service simultaneously May 26.

Despite these steps, concrete progress has so far been limited. India appointed Shivshankar Menon May 13 to be the next high commissioner to Islamabad, and Pakistan followed up by naming Aziz Ahmed Khan as its commissioner two weeks later. But it is uncertain when either will take his position. Furthermore, although both India and Pakistan have agreed to resume aviation ties, flights have yet to begin.

Leaders and diplomats in both countries have said that this new peace initiative will be a slow, step-by-step process.

The efforts at resuming dialogue have been strongly backed by the United States, which views its relationship with the two countries as strategically significant. President George W. Bush plans to receive Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf June 24 at Camp David to discuss ways to “further deepen and broaden the bilateral ties between the United States and Pakistan,” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said May 20. Vice President Dick Cheney is also expected to meet with India’s Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani this June in Washington.

During a May visit to South Asia, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he is “cautiously optimistic” that recent events could lead to substantial improvements in Indian-Pakistani relations. Armitage met with Vajpayee and Jamali, as well as Musharraf, during a previously scheduled trip to the region May 5 to May 11.

U.S. Policy in the Region

“[I]t has become very clear that the most vital interests of the United States are affected by events in South Asia,” Christina Rocca, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, testified to the House International Relations Committee in March. “The continuing success of our alliance against terror and other initiatives in South Asia depends on productive and effective long-term relationships with each of the countries in the region, combined with economic growth, stability, and the strengthening of democratic institutions,” she added.

Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has become an increasingly important U.S. ally, including arresting some al Qaeda members within its borders. In exchange for Pakistan’s help in the war on terror, the United States has increased economic assistance to Pakistan in the education and health sectors, as well as in law enforcement and military aid. As recently as May 20, Fleischer called Pakistan a “stalwart ally in the war on terror.”

Meanwhile, the military relationship between India and the United States has been growing. For example, Washington recently informed New Delhi that the United States no longer objects to Israel and India going ahead with a deal for an advanced airborne early warning system called the Phalcon. The United States, which convinced Israel to abandon a similar sale to China in July 2000, had tacitly approved the Israeli sale of the Phalcon to India more than a year ago, but Washington had urged Israel to postpone the sale because of heightened tensions in South Asia at that time. Delivery of the Phalcon to India will likely take place about two years after a deal is finalized.

U.S. and Indian officials are also expected to meet in July to discuss the possibility of boosting high technology trade, including some dual-use goods that have civilian and military applications, as part of an agreement signed in February by U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Kenneth Juster and Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal.

The Kashmir Dilemma

Many U.S. and South Asian analysts say India and Pakistan must resolve their dispute over Kashmir in order to achieve true stability in South Asia. The two countries agree that the issue is important, but they propose different avenues for solving it. India believes the issue of Kashmir is up to India and Pakistan alone to resolve. The United States might help facilitate the peace process, but real progress will have to be made on outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, an Indian diplomat in Washington said during a May 16 interview.

Pakistan, however, has expressed an interest in having a third party intervene. Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said he hopes the United States “remains engaged in South Asia” during a May 15 speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., adding that “sometimes we need friends” to get a conversation started.

It is unclear exactly what role the United States is willing to play. Armitage was reluctant to take a position on Kashmir or to offer the United States as a mediator. “We’ve often said that this is a problem to be solved between the two parties and a dialogue between the two parties…If we can be helpful in sort of setting the atmosphere surrounding that, then we’re delighted to do so,” Armitage told Pakistani media during his May visit.

The issues of Kashmir and terrorism have proved to be more than just minor hurdles in the latest round of peace initiatives. India asserts that attacks on Indian targets by militants crossing the border from within Pakistan must stop before high-level talks can take place. Pakistan denies that it offers anything more than moral support to the militants.

Meanwhile, India continued to test its ballistic missile arsenal. India’s Ministry of Defense annouced a successful launch of the Prithvi II on April 29 and the first test of the Astra on May 9. The Hindu also reported tests of the Astra on May 11 and the Akash on May 29. Pakistan did not respond with its own tests. Such tests have stirred animosity and reciprocal testing in the past, but the two countries seem to have scaled back the usual hostile responses in the wake of the diplomatic movement. “The mood on both sides is not as bad as two months ago,” the Indian diplomat said.


After more than a year and a half of silence, peppered by occasional threats and accusations, India and Pakistan are considering a range of options in order to re-establish...


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