"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016

Proposed Missile Defense Sale to India Still in Limbo

Wade Boese

After more than a year of review, the United States has not yet decided how to respond to an Israeli request to export the jointly developed U.S.-Israeli Arrow theater missile defense system to India.

Although India has not formally asked to purchase the Arrow system, which is designed to protect against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, New Delhi is exploring acquiring an anti-missile capability and has discussed various systems with Washington. India and Pakistan are both developing and fielding an array of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

U.S. officials appeared conflicted over the possible Arrow transfer when it first became public last summer, and no unified position has emerged. The Pentagon and White House seem to view the deal favorably, but an interagency review involving the State Department has lasted longer than a year. There is no set date for when the review is to be completed.

An issue highlighted by U.S. officials is how the sale of the Arrow to a third country would square with U.S. commitments under the voluntary Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which aims to restrict transfers of missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram warhead at least 300 kilometers. The Arrow has this capability.

The MTCR does not ban transfers of missiles, but the spirit of the regime is that such sales should occur only rarely. Members are expected to subject such deals to great scrutiny, weighing the proposed export against five criteria, including whether an importing state might use the system to deliver weapons of mass destruction or modify it for roles beyond its original purpose.

A key White House official, however, suggested the MTCR is too rigid. The United States must look at ways to implement the MTCR so that it does not impair U.S. missile defense cooperation with foreign governments, according to Robert Joseph, the senior director for proliferation strategy, counterproliferation, and homeland defense on the National Security Council (NSC). Joseph was speaking March 3 at a missile defense conference in Washington, D.C.

Joseph did not single out India or the Arrow system in his remarks, and the NSC did not return calls seeking clarification. A State Department spokesperson would not comment on Joseph’s statement.

J. D. Crouch, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, said at the same conference that the United States had yet to reach a conclusion about the possible Arrow deal, but he also downplayed fears that the transfer could be destabilizing for South Asia or spur an arms race between India and Pakistan. He suggested Islamabad might not view India’s acquisition of missile defenses negatively or as a threat to its security.

But Asad Hayauddin, press attaché for the Pakistani embassy in Washington, said in a March 13 interview that any weapons acquisition that would alter the military status quo in South Asia would be destabilizing to regional security. He added that India’s purchase of missile defenses “would certainly add” to Pakistan’s strategic concerns and that Islamabad would have to respond in some way, possibly by building up its missile forces, to preserve its deterrent capability.

Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha, a former director of naval research for Pakistan’s navy, echoed Hayauddin in a March 15 interview. She described Pakistan as “quite concerned” about a possible Indian purchase of the Arrow and said it would “undermine Pakistan’s deterrence capability.” Yet, she contended Pakistan would likely have a measured response, which might include an increase in missiles, although only “to a certain degree and no more.” Buying its own defenses would be too expensive for Pakistan, she said.

U.S. lawmakers have largely been silent on the issue, except for Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Founder of the congressional caucus on India and Indian-Americans, Pallone wrote Secretary of State Colin Powell a July 23, 2002, letter urging the secretary to support the sale as a move to “solidify” defense ties between the United States and India. Pallone noted in his letter that he understood Powell objected to the deal while “there is [reported] support within the Pentagon and support from Israel to make this sale a reality.”

At a hearing last July at which senators questioned him about the MTCR and the proposed Arrow deal, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Vann Van Diepen warned that the United States should be aware of what type of precedent it might set through its own exports and actions. He suggested the United States might find it harder to oppose arms deals it finds objectionable, such as a Russian export of missile technology to Iran, if Washington approved similar trades to its allies and friends.

After more than a year of review, the United States has not yet decided how to respond to an Israeli request to export the jointly developed U.S.-Israeli Arrow theater missile defense system to India.

Indian Company Sanctioned for Proliferation

The United States levied sanctions February 4 against an Indian company and its president for aiding Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programs. Under the sanctions, imports from NEC Engineers Private Ltd. and its successors or the company’s president, Hans Raj Shiv, are prohibited. In addition, the U.S. government may not buy goods or services from either the company or Shiv.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States imposed the penalties against the entities for “knowingly and materially contributing to Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons program.” Boucher refused to list the specific goods involved or to confirm whether Iraq received them. He noted, however, that Indian media has reported that NEC Engineers Private “sent 10 shipments containing titanium vessels, filters, titanium centrifugal pumps, atomized and spherical aluminum powder, and titanium anodes to Iraq.”

The sanctions “will remain in place for at least one year and until further notice,” according to the Federal Register, which published the decision February 11. This is not the first time Shiv has been penalized; in July 2002, the United States imposed sanctions against Shiv under the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992. (See ACT, September 2002.)

NEC Engineers Private was originally based in India but has expanded its operations into the Middle East and Eurasia, according to the Federal Register. Shiv once lived in India but is now believed to reside in the Middle East. The State Department noted that the Indian government has worked to stem proliferation-related trade by Indian companies. Boucher said India has conducted its own investigation and has arrested two principals of NEC Engineers Private and taken steps to prevent further illicit exports, but “NEC and Shiv have shifted operations to other locations.”

India Conducts Four Missile Tests

Rose Gordon

India conducted four separate missile tests in January and February, including one of the nuclear-capable Agni-I on January 9.

Calling the Agni test a “routine” part of India’s guided missile program, P.K. Bandopadhyay, an Indian Ministry of Defense spokesman, said the test was unrelated to any recent tensions between India and Pakistan, according to an Agence France-Presse report January 9. Pakistan did not test any missiles in response to the Indian test.

The Agni-I, first tested in January 2002, has a range of 700-750 kilometers and can be launched from rail and road sites, allowing for easy transport. It is an adaptation of the 1,500-2,500 range Agni-II—India’s only ballistic missile that could hit China. The Agni-I could increase India’s ability to reach targets in Pakistan, but not China, if it is inducted into the Indian armed forces.

On January 9, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher reiterated comments he made after India and Pakistan tested missiles in October 2002, saying that the test contributed “to a charged atmosphere” on the subcontinent. He added that, despite publicly announcing the tests in advance, India’s latest test would “make it harder to prevent a costly and destabilizing nuclear and missile arms race.” (See ACT, November 2002.)

Most recently, India tested a Brahmos cruise missile, with a 280-290 kilometer range, February 12. The anti-ship Brahmos missile has been in development since 1998 through a joint venture by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and Russia.

India tested its surface-to-air missile—the Akash, with a range of 25 kilometers—January 18 and then again January 20. The Akash has been compared to U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.

All of the tests took place at the Chandipur test site in Orissa, and each one met the mission requirements for the test, according to Sunil Lal, a spokesman for India’s embassy in Washington. The Agni-I, the Brahmos, and the Akash missiles are all in advanced stages of development and will be ready for induction upon completion of testing trials, Lal said.

Asad Hayauddin, a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington, said that, although the missile tests did not come as a surprise, the Pakistani government condemned them. Citing the history of tit-for-tat missile testing between the nuclear rivals, Hayauddin said tests such as these contribute to a tense environment.

India conducted four separate missile tests in January and February, including one of the nuclear-capable Agni-I on January 9...

India Establishes Formal Nuclear Command Structure

Kerry Boyd

For the first time since declaring itself a nuclear-weapon state in 1998, India publicly announced a formal nuclear command structure under civilian control January 4. It had previously been assumed that India’s nuclear arsenal was under civilian control, but little was known about the country’s chain of command.

India has been in the process of developing a formal command structure for some time, and it is unclear whether the newly announced command structure existed secretly before and is now being publicly announced or whether it is newly established.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India has established a Nuclear Command Authority that includes a Political Council and an Executive Council. India’s prime minister chairs the Political Council, and it is the only body with authority to order a nuclear strike. The national security adviser chairs the Executive Council, which advises the Nuclear Command Authority and carries out orders from the Political Council.

India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which approved the announcement of the new command structure, also approved on January 4 the appointment of a commander-in-chief of the Strategic Forces Command to take charge of the nuclear arsenal. It is expected that a senior Air Force officer will be nominated for the position.

India’s announcement reiterates several established elements of India’s nuclear weapons policy, including its goal of a “credible minimum deterrent” and its “no first use” policy, which states that India will only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack on Indian territory or forces. The announcement included a new caveat to that policy, however: India now says it “will retain the option” of using nuclear weapons to retaliate against a biological or chemical weapons attack against India.

Although the announcement provides a clear public picture of India’s basic nuclear command structure, some questions remain. The Ministry of External Affairs indicated that the CCS “approved the arrangements for alternate chains of command for retaliatory nuclear strikes in all eventualities”—possibly referring to a case in which the prime minister might be incapacitated during a nuclear crisis. It is unclear what the alternate chains of command might be and whether they are civilian or military.

Aziz Ahmad Khan, spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign office, said January 6 that India’s establishment of a command and control system is long overdue, Pakistan’s Daily Times reported. Pakistan has a formal, military command structure with President General Pervez Musharraf as the final authority. Musharraf took power in an October 1999 coup.

Last spring, as tensions intensified, the international community became concerned that a months-long military standoff between India and Pakistan could escalate to a nuclear confrontation. India and Pakistan first announced that they had conducted nuclear weapons tests in 1998, although India conducted what it called a “peaceful nuclear explosion” in 1974.

For the first time since declaring itself a nuclear-weapon state in 1998, India publicly announced a formal nuclear command structure under civilian control January 4. 

Countries Agree to Negotiate on Explosive Remnants of War

Wade Boese

States-parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) agreed December 13 to negotiations on addressing the dangers posed by unexploded munitions on the battlefield and to continue discussing possible limits on anti-vehicle mines.

Opened for signature in 1981, the CCW is designed to prohibit or limit the use of weapons deemed to be “excessively injurious” and those that are indiscriminate and could kill or injure noncombatants. The convention, which now numbers 90 states-parties, is comprised of four separate protocols that ban or restrict the use of nondetectable fragment weapons; incendiary weapons; blinding lasers; and mines, booby traps, and other devices.

CCW states-parties, including the United States, met in Geneva December 12-13 to hear reports by two working groups of governmental experts established in December 2001 to explore the issues of explosive remnants of war and mines other than anti-personnel mines—essentially anti-vehicle mines. The states-parties then approved the two groups’ recommendations, which called for negotiation of an “instrument” on explosive remnants of war and further exploration of the mines issue.

Precisely what type of arrangement will be negotiated to address explosive remnants of war remains unclear. The states-parties used the word “instrument,” which to the United States indicates that the final product will not be legally binding. Other countries disagree, claiming that the states-parties have agreed to negotiate a “protocol,” which would be legally binding. Among these other countries are ones that desire bans on specific weapons, such as cluster munitions—a step the United States strongly opposes.

The negotiations will focus on preventive and post-conflict remedial measures. These measures could include improving self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms on weapons, warnings to civilians, the supply of information and equipment for handling and destroying unexploded munitions, and clearance responsibilities.

China questioned the feasibility of making self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms better, arguing that not all countries have the economic and technological capacity to carry out such work. Instead, China suggested that efforts should be dedicated to establishing a principle of user’s responsibility for clearance and to improve the reliability of munitions.

Joined by Russia, India, and Pakistan, China continued to oppose a past U.S.-Danish proposal to negotiate a new CCW protocol restricting the use of anti-vehicle mines, although its position slightly softened over the past 12 months. In December 2001, Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang contended that there was “no evidence” that anti-vehicle mines “led to serious humanitarian problems”; but at the latest meeting, Sha said, “We do not deny that [anti-vehicle mines have] caused certain humanitarian problems.”

Nevertheless, Sha added that mines were “effective defensive weapons” and that no further work needed to be done, claiming that the existing CCW protocol on mines was sufficient. Yet, he said that China recognized the interest of other countries to explore the issue and that Beijing would “show flexibility” to allow the discussions to continue.

The explosive remnants of war negotiations and the continued discussions on mines will again be carried out by two separate groups of governmental experts in three 2003 sessions scheduled for March 10-14, June 16-27, and November 17-24. CCW states-parties will then meet November 27-28 to review the experts’ work and, if necessary, decide on future action.

States-parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) agreed December 13 to negotiations on addressing the dangers posed by unexploded...

OPCW Annual Report Cites Progress, Problems

Kerry Boyd

By the end of 2001, India and the United States had destroyed 20 percent of their most dangerous chemical weapons, according to an annual report the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released in October. The OPCW, which oversees implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), also said that other states were making progress in destroying chemical weapons and related facilities, despite some major delays, but that financial difficulties had led it to conduct fewer inspections than scheduled.

Four CWC states-parties have declared that they possess chemical weapons, which the convention prohibits and requires to be destroyed. Two of those countries, India and the United States, completed destruction of 20 percent of their Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles—agents with high potential for offensive use—ahead of the April 29, 2002, deadline set by the CWC. In October the CWC conference of the states-parties agreed to grant an extension to the two other countries—Russia and an unnamed CWC member state believed to be South Korea—to destroy 20 percent of their Category 1 weapons. (See ACT, November 2002.)

India and Russia finished destroying all their Category 3 chemical weapons in 2001, according to the report. Category 3 weapons are munitions, containers, or equipment that do not contain chemical agent but are specifically connected to the use of chemical weapons. The United States had destroyed more than 99 percent of its Category 3 chemical weapons by the end of 2001 and has since completed the effort. The unnamed country had completed destruction of Category 3 weapons in 1999. Efforts to destroy Category 2 weapons—chemicals that do not fall under Category 1 but could be precursors to Category 1 chemicals or otherwise have offensive potential—in India and Russia were also “well underway” in 2001, according to the report. The United States and the unnamed country have not declared any Category 2 weapons.

By the end of 2001, all but two of the then-145 CWC states-parties had fufilled their treaty obligation to declare any chemical weapons and related facilities they have to the OPCW, continuing a positive trend of more states complying with the declarations requirement, the report says. At the end of 1999, 34 member states had yet to submit their declarations, but by the end of 2000 only five countries had failed to do so. “This positive development greatly facilitated the Secretariat’s planning of inspection activities, particularly for the first three months of 2002,” according to the report.

The OPCW verified that in 2001 states-parties destroyed “957 tonnes of chemical weapons agent contained in 219,592 munitions items and bulk containers and 289,580 unfilled munitions, devices and specifically designed items of equipment in three of the four chemical weapons possessor States Parties,” the report says. The organization also verified that 27 former chemical weapons production facilities were destroyed and eight were converted for nonmilitary uses.

Because of financial difficulties, however, the OPCW conducted only 200 inspections in 2001—68 percent of the 293 inspections budgeted for that year. The organization’s budget for 2001 was more than $62 million, and the secretariat scaled back the number of inspections to avoid a deficit, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Thailand deposited its instrument of ratification of the CWC with the UN secretary-general on December 10, 2002, becoming the 148th state-party to the CWC January 9, 2003.

By the end of 2001, India and the United States had destroyed 20 percent of their most dangerous chemical weapons, according to an annual report...

India, Pakistan Conduct Missile Tests

On October 4, Pakistan tested its Hatf-4 (Shaheen-1) surface-to-surface missile, which can carry a 500-kilogram payload 750 kilometers, followed by a second Haft-4 test October 8. The last time Pakistan tested a ballistic missile was in May 2002, when it tested three nuclear-capable missiles. (See ACT, June 2002.)

Hours after the October 4 test, India tested an Akash surface-to-air missile with a range of 25 kilometers. Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said that India would not respond to Pakistan’s second test, Agence France Presse reported October 8.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said October 4 that Washington was “disappointed” by both countries’ tests because they could contribute to a “destabilizing nuclear and missile arms race.”

India and Pakistan each accused the other of having strategic and political motivations while claiming that its own tests were driven by other considerations. Pakistan said it conducted its tests for technical reasons, a Foreign Office spokesman said in an October 7 press conference, while Pakistani Information Minister Nisar Memon accused India of engaging in an arms race, according to Agence France Presse October 4.

Indian Defense Ministry spokesman P. K. Bandhopadhyay stated that India was testing “different parameters of the missile,” the Associated Press reported October 4. Another government spokesperson dismissed Pakistan’s tests as politically motivated, saying they were “targeted at the forthcoming general elections” in an October 4 statement.

India held elections in its portion of Kashmir—a territory India and Pakistan have repeatedly fought over—in September and October to elect a new regional state assembly. Pakistan held national parliamentary elections October 10 for the first time since President Pervez Musharraf took power three years ago.

In a potentially positive sign for the region, India announced October 16 that it would withdraw some troops from the international border with Pakistan, and Pakistan followed with a similar announcement the next day. Neither country, however, announced plans to reduce the number of forces stationed along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Daryl G. Kimball

As tensions mounted in recent months between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir, massive troop deployments, cross-border shelling, and tough talk in New Delhi and Islamabad brought the two nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war. Though leaders in both countries had professed confidence that neither side would deliberately resort to nuclear weapons, they have said in recent days that they were prepared to wage nuclear war.

The international community, including the United States, realized the danger of a deliberate or accidental nuclear exchange between the rival states and sought to remind both sides of the grave consequences of such a war. Mindful of the possibility that Pakistan might be tempted to use nuclear weapons to counter India’s overwhelming conventional forces, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that he told the leaders of both states, “I can see very little military, political, or any other kind of justification for the use of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons in this day and age may serve some deterrent effect, and so be it. But to think of using them as just another weapon in what might start out as a conventional conflict in this day and age seems…to be something that no side should be contemplating.”

Despite the wisdom of Powell’ s words, the Bush administration apparently subscribes to a different set of rules for its own nuclear arsenal. The Pentagon’s recent nuclear posture review asserts that nuclear weapons “provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, including WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and large-scale conventional military force.” The review calls for contingency plans for nuclear strikes against non-nuclear weapon states or in conflicts that may begin as conventional wars. It calls for new nuclear weapons capabilities to destroy targets, such as deeply buried bunkers.

Worse still, in a speech this June President George W. Bush said that the United States will take the battle “to the enemy…and confront the worst threats before they emerge.” This implies that President Bush may be willing to use nuclear weapons not only in retaliation for a WMD attack but also to pre-empt possible WMD attacks. These attempts to reinforce the believability of U.S. threats send mixed and dangerous signals to allies, adversaries, and would-be proliferators.

Current U.S. efforts to enhance the credibility and range of options for the use of nuclear weapons blur the bright line that has separated nuclear and conventional warfare since the bombing of Nagasaki. Coming from the United States, the world’s pre-eminent military and political power, such policies only undermine nonproliferation efforts by suggesting to other states that nuclear weapons are legitimate and necessary tools that can achieve military or political objectives.

To date, no nuclear-weapon state has declared as a matter of national policy that it would respond to or pre-empt the use of chemical or biological weapons with nuclear weapons. It is one thing to threaten a “devastating response” to a biological or chemical weapons attack. It is quite another to say explicitly that the United States is prepared to counter or attempt to pre-empt such attacks by striking with nuclear weapons.

When preventive diplomacy and arms control fail to head off proliferation (and from time to time they will), military force backed with the rule of law and supported by the international community can be the option of last resort. But force should not become the sole or even the primary policy option, and in no case should nuclear weapons be employed. As a primary solution, all nations must work to strengthen, effectively implement, and universally adhere to the nonproliferation norms established by the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

If the Bush administration fails to follow through on U.S. NPT disarmament commitments, and if it renounces its longstanding pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states in good standing with the NPT, some states may see that the rule of law is breaking down and conclude that they too need nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons to ward off attack. And if the United States asserts that pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against terrorist-related WMD threats is justified, a state such as India might assert the same right and consider launching its own pre-emptive strike against Pakistan.

Rather than explore new roles for U.S. nuclear weapons—even in the name of WMD counter-proliferation—American leaders have a practical and moral responsibility to practice what they preach. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last month, “These are not just larger weapons, they are distinctively different weapons.” Consequently, the role of nuclear weapons, until they are eliminated, must be strictly limited to deterring a nuclear attack by other nuclear-weapon states.

Avoiding Another Close Call in South Asia

Lee Feinstein

Nuclear weapons have yet to bring about a hoped-for period of détente and stability between India and Pakistan. So far, the subcontinent’s nuclear era has been marked by chronic crises and close calls: India and Pakistan have come close to war three or four times since 1990 and edged toward nuclear war at least twice. The disputes have grown more intense and more frequent with time.

The Bush administration’s skillful crisis diplomacy has reduced tensions in the latest dispute, triggered by last December’s attack on the Indian parliament by Pakistani-based insurgent groups. But the peace is tenuous, and India and Pakistan will continue to test each other’s limits. Sustained American diplomatic engagement needs to supplant crisis management as the main tool for reducing the possibility of war between these two nuclear nations.

A place to begin is to remake the U.S.-sponsored stability talks with India and Pakistan that began after their nuclear tests in May 1998. These talks ran out of steam after President Clinton’s landmark trip to India and Pakistan in March 2000, and they have been in limbo since President Bush took office, although the administration has begun to show more interest since September 11.

America’s transformed relationships with both India and Pakistan would give the United States strong leverage in recalibrated and re-energized talks on regional confidence-building and restraint. In any event, the importance of stability in South Asia to the success of the U.S. anti-terror campaign makes resumption of these negotiations a national security priority, even amid the heavy agenda already facing the administration’s foreign policy team.

Past Nuclear Brushes

The nuclear era on the subcontinent began sometime in the late 1980s or in 1990, depending on who is doing the bookkeeping. India had demonstrated its nuclear capacity with a nuclear test in 1974, and in the fall of 1990 the United States officially acknowledged for the first time that Pakistan had acquired a nuclear capacity. At that time, the first Bush administration effectively cut off U.S. assistance to Islamabad by failing to certify its non-nuclear status, a congressionally mandated condition of U.S. aid at the time.

The first close call of the subcontinent’s nuclear era also took place in 1990, in the first half of the year. Indian interference in Kashmiri politics in the mid-1980s, including the ousting of elected state government representatives and vote-rigging, helped foment a popular uprising in the Vale of Kashmir in 1989, which the Pakistani government actively supported. India wanted to stem infiltration of insurgents into the Indian-held portion of Kashmir and claimed Pakistan was preparing to use the militant attacks to support a broader military intervention. Pakistani charges centered on Indian tank mobilizations and troop reinforcements, which Islamabad alleged were being readied for an attack on Pakistani Kashmir, using a spontaneous insurgency as the pretext. Mobilizations and countermobilizations were scrutinized amid a war of words, including nuclear threats that alarmed Washington.

In May 1990, President Bush dispatched his deputy national security adviser, Robert Gates, to the region. His meetings with Indian and Pakistani officials helped to defuse the situation. India announced the withdrawal of some units that had been deployed earlier in the year, and the crisis passed within a couple of weeks. Subsequent accounts by senior Bush administration officials described the crisis as having edged close to nuclear war.1

The second close call took place in 1999, when Pakistani regular troops seized Indian positions at Kargil, a remote location in the Himalayan mountains, that had been evacuated for the winter. Like the earlier brush with war, this one also required U.S. diplomatic intervention. Bruce Reidel, who was the senior White House adviser on South Asia, has written a compelling account of President Clinton’s personal negotiations with then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that culminated in a dramatic July 4 meeting at Blair House, at which Clinton warned that Pakistan was playing with nuclear war.2

The result of the summit meeting was a short public statement in which a reluctant Sharif agreed that Pakistani troops would return to positions behind the Line of Control, the de facto international border separating Indian- and Pakistani-held Kashmir. Asked to comment about Reidel’s account of the nuclear peril, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who led U.S. talks with India and Pakistan following the 1998 tests, said the Kargil dispute “had the potential of going all the way.”

There is disagreement about the lessons the Indians and Pakistanis have drawn from the Kashmir crises of 1990 and 1999, but it is clear that they were testing one another’s limits and that the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides bracketed their actions. In the 1990 standoff, India faced a credible nuclear threat from Pakistan for the first time, and the case can be made that Pakistan’s nuclear capacity ultimately tempered India’s reaction. In the second crisis, Pakistan may have acted believing that nuclear weapons would restrain Indian military responses. Pakistan may have also counted on U.S. and world support in light of the risk of nuclear war. It turned out that the United States and almost every other significant power, including Pakistan’s ally, China, laid blame at Islamabad’s doorstep. Isolated and dependent on international goodwill, it was Pakistan’s turn to relent.

The Latest Round

The current crisis has had two phases. The first was triggered by last December’s attack on the Indian parliament. Tensions intensified after a May 14 attack by militants that killed 32 people in Jammu, mostly the families of Indian soldiers. Islamic militants also killed Abdul Ghani Lone, a long-time Kashmiri voice of moderation. Meanwhile, sectarian violence by Hindus against Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat stoked tensions further. By the spring, one million Indian and Pakistani troops had been facing off for six months, amid the daily exchange of artillery fire and increasingly inflamed rhetoric on both sides. As in 1990 and 1999, the United States intervened diplomatically to avert war, making George W. Bush the third U.S. president in a row to be drawn into the Kashmir dispute.

By the third week of May, when Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said in a speech to soldiers that the time was right for a decisive battle, the full weight of U.S. diplomacy had swung into action. Secretary of State Colin Powell dispatched his deputy, Richard Armitage, to the region in June and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited the region the following week. President Bush also made a rare call to both leaders. A supporting international cast backed the parade of U.S. officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

The flurry of emergency activity yielded a commitment by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to stop permanently infiltration by Islamic militants into India and a pledge to dismantle the camps out of which the militants train and operate. India responded to Musharraf’s guarantee after having satisfied itself that he had, in fact, delivered the order to stop infiltration and that it was being carried out. The modest, but significant, Indian response has so far included resumption of commercial flights between India and Pakistan, reassignment of a high commissioner to Islamabad, and reduction of Indian naval forces in the region. Major troop reductions are not expected on either side before Kashmiri elections in October and national parliamentary elections in Pakistan the same month. By that time, it is hoped, the onset of winter will chill the war fever.

We will have to wait for a future former administration official to tell us how close the U.S. government believed both sides came to nuclear war. Many U.S. officials, including Rumsfeld, publicly downplayed the risk of nuclear war. Powell was more circumspect, saying that “to think of using [nuclear weapons] as just another weapon in what might start out as a conventional conflict in this day and age seems to me to be something that no side should be contemplating.” What we do know is that the State Department authorized the withdrawal of nonessential embassy personnel and their dependents from India and that for the first time it advised Americans traveling in India to leave. (American visitors to Pakistan had been warned and nonessential personnel withdrawn from Pakistan months earlier because of terrorist threats.)

The impact of the latest crisis on Indian and Pakistani official thinking also remains uncertain.

Musharraf may well conclude that—particularly in the current climate—the world will not support terrorist tactics even to redress the legitimate human rights and democracy grievances of Kashmiris. Hopefully, the combined effect of Kargil, where the world community opposed aggressive tactics by Pakistani regular troops, and the current crisis, where the world denounced attacks by militants, will demonstrate to Pakistan that an honorable outcome can be reached only through diplomatic means. It is significant that Musharraf took the first step since he is the Pakistani official widely believed to be the architect of the Kargil operation.

Recent statements by the Pakistani leadership also point to a possible softening of Islamabad’s earlier rhetoric regarding the use of nuclear weapons. In a June 1 interview with CNN, Musharraf said, “I don’t think either side is that irresponsible to go to that limit. …[A]ny sane individual cannot even think of going into this unconventional mode, whatever the pressures.” A senior Pakistani embassy official said this statement was meant as a signal to India: although Pakistan would not adopt a nuclear no-first-use policy, as India had demanded, it was prepared to lower the nuclear threshold and make clear Pakistan would not resort to nuclear war under the current circumstances.

In New Delhi, the current crisis has further opened India’s eyes to the benefits of an international—and particularly an American—role in Kashmir now that the world has again taken its side in the dispute. India, in fact, may now have excessively high expectations about what U.S. diplomacy can deliver, depending on Washington to bail it out when things get hairy. Many believe India’s ratcheting up of the war rhetoric in April and May was a pressure tactic aimed as much at Washington as at Islamabad. That said, India is still placing conditions on direct talks with Pakistan on Kashmir, and it continues to resist a supportive third-party role for the United States or others in establishing a political process to deal with the 55-year-old dispute.

Many Indian officials continue to deride international concern about the risk of nuclear war in South Asia as if India and Pakistan, unlike the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, are somehow immune from nuclear risks. The fact that Pakistan has not used nuclear weapons and has backed down in the most recent standoffs seems also to have encouraged aggressive rhetoric in some public Indian statements. Remarks by Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes and Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani implying that India would not be daunted by Pakistan’s nuclear capability were especially worrying.

In the long term, the persistent instability over Kashmir will increase pressures for an arms competition between India and Pakistan. The Indian government will argue a strong and ready nuclear capability is necessary to convince Pakistan of New Delhi’s seriousness and to deter it from launching a nuclear attack. Pakistan, in response, will want to maintain nuclear parity with India so as not to be intimidated.

The Stability Talks

If we are lucky, the most recent close call in South Asia will give impetus to a renewal and recalibration of U.S.-sponsored stability talks in the region. The Clinton-era talks were pathbreaking but produced limited concrete results and, at first glance, seemingly little incentive to continue them into the next presidency. A closer look, however, suggests their potential, particularly given Washington’s strong relations with both India and Pakistan since September 11.

From 1998 through President Clinton’s visit to Pakistan and India in March 2000, the first by an American president in a generation, the Clinton administration conducted an intense and unprecedented series of high-level talks with India and Pakistan on stability in the subcontinent.

The talks were ignited by India’s nuclear tests conducted in the Pokhran desert on May 11 and May 13. The United States had long been concerned about the prospect of Indian nuclear tests but two months earlier had received high-level public and private assurances that the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government “would continue to show restraint in the nonproliferation field, and would do nothing to surprise us.”3 As a result, the timing of the tests took the intelligence community by surprise, and the seventh floor of the State Department learned of the explosions on the morning of May 11 from a public announcement by the Indian government.

After the tests, President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked Strobe Talbott, with long arms control expertise in and out of government, to lead an interagency effort to develop the American response. Talbott commanded the authority and prestige that would prove particularly important with a status-conscious Indian Foreign Ministry and a BJP government hungry for international recognition. He assembled a core group of State Department and White House officials, whose first agenda item focused on persuading Pakistan not to respond in kind to India’s nuclear tests—a difficult task given a decade of deterioration in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The focus of the two-week campaign was a high-level delegation to Islamabad, led by Talbott, that also included General Anthony Zinni, who had fostered good relations with Pakistan as head of U.S. Central Command; Bruce Reidel of the National Security Council; Robert Einhorn, who directed the administration’s nonproliferation policy; and Rick Inderfurth, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs. The team offered Islamabad a substantial aid package and a promise of closer ties if it would forgo testing. But the U.S. delegation was unable to sway Pakistan, despite what appeared to be genuine misgivings about testing by Nawaz Sharif, as well as by Pakistani diplomats in Washington.

The die had already been cast, and Pakistan soon declared that on May 28 and May 30 it had conducted six nuclear tests, one more than India had announced earlier that month.

U.S. policy then shifted to promoting restraint on the subcontinent through a series of high-level and expert meetings with India and Pakistan. India selected Jaswant Singh to be Talbott’s partner at the talks. Ultra-urbane and personally close to Vajpayee, Singh was a worthy interlocutor for Talbott, one of Bill Clinton’s roommates at Oxford. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s designated envoy to the United States would change over the course of the discussions, and Washington would use different channels to convey its message.

In Washington, Talbott’s core group settled on a strategy of pursuing five goals, or “benchmarks,” for India and Pakistan backed by a diplomatic strategy to build international support behind them. In the weeks following the nuclear tests, the UN Security Council, the G-8, and a supporting group of states that had ended or renounced nuclear programs, ranging from Argentina to Ukraine, also embraced the pursuit of these goals in South Asia:

  • signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which had been negotiated three years earlier;
  • an end to production of fissile material for weapons;
  • stricter export controls;
  • nondeployment of nuclear weapons and the missiles and aircraft to deliver them; and
  • confidence-building measures to reduce the risk of war over Kashmir.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Shortly after they conducted their nuclear tests, both India and Pakistan adopted voluntary moratoriums on further nuclear testing, which still remain in effect. On the basis of the voluntary halts, and in light of the fact that the test ban treaty would arguably allow either side to resume testing if the other broke its obligations, administration officials judged this to be one of the easier benchmarks to reach. Moreover, it was possibly the most important benchmark politically because it would illustrate that India and Pakistan had taken visible steps toward restraint in deference to world opinion.

The test ban remained out of reach, however. It was generally expected that Pakistan would not go first, unpersuaded by an American appeal to Islamabad to seize the moral high ground. The BJP government told American negotiators that it needed to build a national consensus on the question, given the negative associations surrounding the CTBT, which India opposed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where the agreement was finalized. Numerous domestic crises delayed the promised effort to build consensus, and a scheduled debate in the Indian parliament never took place.

The U.S. Senate’s rejection of the CTBT in 1999 then dimmed the prospects for Indian action, and presidential candidate George W. Bush’s opposition to the CTBT further undermined U.S. diplomatic leverage.

Fissile Material Cutoff

Pakistan temporarily removed procedural blocks it had imposed at the Geneva negotiations on a fissile material cutoff. Nonetheless, Islamabad never seriously considered agreeing to a moratorium on production, despite a public declaration by its leading nuclear scientist that Pakistan had already produced sufficient stockpiles of fissile material.

India never seriously entertained a moratorium, either. It was engaged in an effort to expand its capacity to produce bomb-usable materials. India rejected proposals to agree to a halt conditioned on Pakistani agreement. It dismissed a proposal to agree to a cutoff when the other six states that had tested nuclear weapons—the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, and Pakistan—also agreed. And it rejected a proposal to halt production on a “date certain” to be set by India itself.

Export Controls

Neither country has agreed to adopt control lists consistent with international standards governing the export of sensitive items, although there has been a series of important negotiations at the expert level on these issues. India frequently describes its export control procedures as “impeccable,” although they fall short of international standards.

Reports of Pakistani nuclear scientists traveling to the Persian Gulf region, North Korea, and Afghanistan have raised the most serious questions as to the security of Pakistani nuclear and missile secrets. China’s support to Pakistani nuclear programs, directly or through third parties, also remains a concern. China has yet to fulfill its November 2000 commitment to the United States not to assist Pakistan’s missile programs in any way.


Efforts to promote Indian or Pakistani voluntary statements about the future direction of their nuclear programs proved frustrating. The United States sought statements by India to define its self-declared aim of maintaining a “credible minimum deterrent” at the lowest possible levels. But the nuclear doctrine issued by India’s semi-official National Security Advisory Board in August 1999 suggested no end to India’s nuclear plans; in fact, it recommended an Indian triad of nuclear-capable submarines, aircraft, and missiles.

Pakistan exchanged detailed papers with U.S. negotiators on nondeployment of nuclear weapons, but they were never developed into concrete proposals. On this benchmark, as with the others, Pakistan declined to go first because of Nawaz Sharif’s tenuous grip on power.

Confidence-Building Measures

India and Pakistan may have come closest to making progress on confidence-building measures related to Kashmir. Prime Minister Vajpayee took a historic bus trip to Lahore in 1999, which culminated in a declaration that included a substantial list of measures to be adopted and a tentative framework for negotiating and implementing them. Progress toward these measures, however, was undone by the Kargil operation, which left Vajpayee feeling double- crossed. Musharraf’s overthrow of Nawaz Sharif was the final nail in the coffin.

The stability talks failed to make more progress toward the benchmarks for several reasons. The Indian government ran out the clock on the Clinton administration, which was almost halfway through its second term by the time of the May 1998 nuclear tests. In addition, nuclear security competed with other foreign policy priorities: forging a stronger relationship with India on one hand and dealing with the consequences of Pakistan’s crisis of governance—links to terrorism and a military coup—on the other. In addition, the improvement in U.S.-Indian relations was still in the trial phase, and U.S. relations with Pakistan were at a low point.

An earlier, more concentrated focus on the first benchmark—joining the CTBT—might have produced a better, if narrower, outcome for the United States, leading to Indian and Pakistani signature and possibly adherence to the test ban. That said, although the CTBT had high political visibility, some of the other benchmarks—notably, nondeployment and confidence-building measures—were more important in terms of promoting stability in the region.

No one realistically expected India or Pakistan to move quickly or easily to rein in their nuclear programs after tit-for-tat nuclear test explosions and amid recurring tensions over Kashmir. It took the United States and the Soviet Union many years to undertake commitments of substantially less reach, and it was clear that success toward the benchmarks would require patient diplomacy over a sustained period.

The stability talks did produce a qualified success in terms of international cooperation on proliferation issues. In addition to the UN and G-8 resolutions supporting stability and security on the subcontinent, the G-7 agreed in June 1998 to postpone most World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans (those covering “non-basic human needs”) to India and Pakistan until there was demonstrated progress toward the benchmarks. These multilateral sanctions, though continually tested and occasionally compromised, held longer than any other multilateral restrictions, including those imposed against China after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The most important outcome of the talks, however, was that they created the foundation for the transformational improvement in relations with India and possibly with Pakistan as well. Like the early arms control talks between the United States and the Soviet Union, discussions between the United States and India on the narrow topic of stability secured an opening for a broader and deeper dialogue at high levels. This was critical not just for a deeper U.S.-India partnership, but also, in the end, the best route to achieving U.S. nonproliferation goals. By the time of President Clinton’s visit to India, the two countries had agreed to disagree on the nuclear issue. Relations would continue to improve on the basis of shared values and interests, including a commitment to democracy. That said, the nuclear issue would place an upper limit on the extent of bilateral cooperation.

Arguably, the intermittent communications with Pakistan—including President Clinton’s five-hour stopover in Islamabad to meet with Musharraf, during which cooperation on terrorism was discussed—helped sensitize Pakistan to U.S. concerns and eased its decision after September 11 to side with the United States in the anti-terror campaign.

The Potential of New Talks

The Bush administration entered office with a very different approach to conflict prevention in South Asia and around the world.

As a general principle, the administration views weapons proliferation as inevitable. It has judged diplomatic efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to be, at best, well intentioned but unlikely to affect decision-making by leaders determined to acquire them. As a result, the administration has steered U.S. policy toward dealing with the consequences of proliferation, rather than preventing it in the first place. To this end, the administration has focused on missile defense, deterrence, and pre-emption at the expense of complementary diplomatic tools, including international agreements, bilateral understandings, sanctions, and political pressure.

In South Asia, this approach called into question the administration’s commitment to the stability talks, even though Washington continued to raise some of the benchmarks in bilateral discussions conducted in the first half of 2001. The Bush administration also began discussions early in its term on removing the nuclear-related sanctions on both countries, particularly India, and delinked this decision from progress toward the benchmarks. Of course, after the terrorist attacks, the United States correctly lifted all nuclear-related sanctions on both countries, leaving in place only limited missile- and democracy-related sanctions on Islamabad.

The Bush administration now has an unprecedented opportunity to promote stability and security on the subcontinent. For the first time since partition, the United States has good relations with India and Pakistan at the same time. U.S. leverage is reinforced by Pakistan’s need for U.S. and international assistance and India’s strong desire to maintain warm relations with the West and foster foreign trade and investment. The lifting of the sanctions can be used to increase Washington’s influence with New Delhi and Islamabad.

It is not too late to help shape the subcontinent’s political-military future. Although India and Pakistan have now both demonstrated a nuclear capacity, the future direction of their nuclear and missile programs is still very much open. Such key questions as how many and what type of weapons each plans to build; how they plan to deliver those weapons; what doctrines they will adopt to govern their potential use; whether they would be operationally deployed; and the type of command and control system each chooses to build all remain to be decided. U.S. and international diplomacy can still affect the outcome.

Refocused U.S. stability talks with India and Pakistan should focus on three goals: preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands; averting conflict between India and Pakistan and reducing the risk of a nuclear war; and mitigating negative side effects on countries outside South Asia that are flirting with the nuclear option.

Safeguarding Nuclear Weapons

This goal overlaps with the third benchmark of the earlier stability talks—establishing solid export controls in both India and Pakistan. In light of concerns about the stability of Pakistan and given the post-September 11 partnership between the United States and Pakistan, it is now also possible to consider U.S.-Pakistani and U.S.-Indian cooperation akin to the successful Cooperative Threat Reduction program with Russia. Cooperation might include a number of steps:

  • sharing of organizational “best practices,” including personnel reliability programs, site security, and rapid-response teams;
  • provision of nonsensitive equipment, including monitoring equipment for vaults, tracking equipment for nuclear weapons, and communications equipment; and
  • table-top exercises to assist in identifying potential vulnerabilities and requirements.4

Preliminary discussions along these lines have taken place between the United States and Pakistan, and pending legislation in Congress would require the administration to report on such cooperation and, possibly, provide money to support it.

Washington should continue to withhold certain technologies and components consistent with its legal obligations, including the prohibition in the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty “not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapons State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” This prohibition would extend both to assistance that might help either country operationalize its nuclear weapons and to safety and security devices, such as permissive action links, intrinsic to advanced U.S. weapons designs. U.S. legal obligations necessarily complicate security cooperation with Pakistan and India, but they do not need to block it.

Of course, in Pakistan the best approach for preventing instability—and therefore weapons proliferation—is to address Islamabad’s long-standing crisis of governance through international assistance and the promotion of civil society, the rule of law, and democracy.

Averting War

The next U.S. goal is to develop policies to reduce the risks of conventional war between India and Pakistan; to dampen pressures for a nuclear and missile arms competition on the subcontinent; and to reduce the risks of deliberate, accidental, or inadvertent nuclear war. This objective incorporates two of the benchmarks from the earlier stability talks—nondeployment and confidence-building measures—and should incorporate a third dimension: expert and military-to-military discussions to share experiences and information about the routes to nuclear escalation.

The Lahore Declaration of 1999 contains a helpful list of useful confidence-building measures. However, the legacy of that document has made it a political hot potato. Prime Minister Vajpayee is leery because the “spirit of Lahore” was tainted by Pakistan’s military actions in Kargil. President Musharraf dislikes the Lahore Document because it was concluded by Nawaz Sharif, the man he ousted. Getting these confidence-building measures on track is critical.

The most important confidence-building measure, however, is continued U.S. engagement in the region to encourage direct talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. The United States does not want to mediate—and India will not permit it to do so—but the truth is the United States is, and must continue to be, deeply involved. Without a political process, India and Pakistan will approach the brink of war again.
To prevent accidental or inadvertent nuclear war, the United States should consider unclassified dialogues among retired officials to think through possible pathways to a nuclear crisis. Additionally, discussions between U.S. military officers and their Indian and Pakistani counterparts might clarify the issue of command and control in a crisis. Such talks would be especially timely in Pakistan, where there is a renewed relationship between U.S. and Pakistani military officers after a decade-long interruption.

Concerning nondeployment, Indian officials have said the ambitious report of the National Security Advisory Board is unofficial, but they should be encouraged to be more specific about their plans. In this regard, the United States should encourage India and Pakistan to define their professed goal of a “credible minimum deterrent” at the lowest possible level. There need not be a bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan, but a voluntary elaboration of each government’s views on its minimum deterrent posture would be useful. Pakistan might build on recent statements by President Musharraf to adopt a position that depicts nuclear weapons as “weapons of last resort,” borrowing language from NATO’s 1990 London Declaration. Another helpful step would be reaffirmation by both sides of their voluntary moratoriums on nuclear testing, although Washington should not exert much leverage on behalf of a pledge both sides continue to uphold.

Mitigating Side Effects

The United States is at a critical juncture in the effort to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and developments on the subcontinent will have a significant impact on the perceptions and decisions of other key states. The goal is to avoid a “cascading effect” whereby second-tier states feel increasingly exposed by their earlier decision to forego nuclear weapons.

In the Middle East, particularly in Iran and Egypt, policymakers have taken notice of Pakistan’s “defiance” of American pressure and Washington’s inability to reverse Islamabad’s decision and seeming unwillingness to make it pay a heavy price.5 In East Asia, India’s future actions will affect China’s strategic choices and could also reopen the door to wider nuclear and missile cooperation with Pakistan, which would affect and be affected by India’s reaction. China’s decisions will also impact decision-making in Japan, whose non-nuclear status is being tested in the context of contemplated changes to Tokyo’s post-war constitution. Finally, developments in South Asia could impact progress toward a unified and nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

The United States must not be perceived as dismissing these concerns in light of the priorities of the anti-terror campaign but, instead, adapt its approach to the new realities.

The Longer Term

To build stability in South Asia, Pakistan needs to keep its word in ending support for militants, preventing infiltration across the Line of Control, dismantling terrorist training camps, and taking other steps to crack down on terrorists. Perhaps most importantly, President Musharraf must take full advantage of the current international support he has to address his country’s deepening crisis of governance, including improving living and educational standards and making a commitment to democracy. Addressing Kashmir will require difficult compromises for Pakistan down the road. But painful tradeoffs can be compensated with the understanding that the best guarantor of Kashmiri dignity is a prosperous and stable Pakistan committed to the rule of law.

India cannot afford to reject direct talks with Pakistan about Kashmir for much longer. Washington should build on New Delhi’s new openness to internationalization of the issue by sustaining an active third-party role, with the backing of the world community, in pushing India and Pakistan toward a political process.

Finally, the United States must work with both countries to undertake measures to reduce the risk of war and escalation between nuclear neighbors. Crisis diplomacy has averted war in South Asia again, but the underlying problems remain. Sustained American diplomatic engagement needs to supplant crisis diplomacy as Washington’s main tool for reducing the risk of war between these two nuclear nations. Otherwise, if and when the next Indian-Pakistani crisis erupts, we may not be so lucky.

1. For a detailed account, see Kanti P. Bajpai, ed., Brasstacks and Beyond: Perceptions and Management of Crisis in South Asia (University of Illinois, 1995).
2. Bruce Reidel, “American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House,” Center for the Advanced Study of India, Policy Paper Series, May 2002.
3. Statement of Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs Karl F. Inderfurth before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, May 13, 1998.
4. For a comprehensive list of recommendations, see Lewis A. Dunn, “Balancing Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation in South Asia,” in Lee Feinstein, ed., A New Equation: U.S. Policy Toward India and Pakistan After September 11, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Working Paper No. 27, May 2002.
5. See Ibrahim A. Karawan, “Nuclear Temptations: The Middle East as a Case Study,” paper prepared for the 42nd Stanley Foundation Strategies for Peace Conference, Airlie House, Virginia, October 2002.

Lee Feinstein, former deputy director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, was a member of the deputy secretary of state’s team charged with developing the U.S. response to the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan. He will join the Council on Foreign Relations as a senior fellow in July.


Nuclear weapons have yet to bring about a hoped-for period of détente and stability between India and Pakistan.

India Signs Contract for U.S. Radars

On April 17, India signed an agreement worth approximately $146 million with the Pentagon to purchase eight advanced radars. The deal, which the United States authorized last year, marks the first major arms sale by the U.S. government to India in more than a decade.

Under the terms of the agreement, India will receive eight AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radars, which are ground-based radars designed to detect and locate the precise site of an enemy’s artillery and rocket systems. Thales Raytheon Systems, a trans-Atlantic U.S., French, and British venture, builds the radar.

Private U.S. companies last delivered India military-related equipment and dual-use goods—items having both civilian and military applications that require a U.S. government license to export—in 1994. Those deliveries totaled a little more than $97 million.

Last September, the Bush administration lifted sanctions prohibiting arms sales to India, which is historically a major buyer of Russian weaponry. The U.S. action was announced in conjunction with the removal of similar sanctions on Pakistan. Washington had imposed sanctions on both India and Pakistan following their May 1998 nuclear tests.

Although the Bush administration had apparently favored lifting sanctions on India for some time, it did not want to waive sanctions on one of the South Asian rivals and not the other. Pakistan’s support for the U.S. war on terrorism, however, provided the administration with the opportunity to lift sanctions on New Delhi and Islamabad simultaneously.


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