The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Near East and South Asia Subcommittee
03 June 1998

Mr. Chairman, since I last testified before this Committee only
twenty-one days ago, events in South Asia have continued to proceed in
a very dangerous direction. In addition to the series of nuclear tests
conducted by India, Pakistan tested nuclear devices on May 28 and May
30. India and Pakistan have declared themselves nuclear powers, and
made statements -- from which they have since backed away -- that they
intend to fit their ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. Indian
leaders have expressed their intention to conduct a national security
review, to include plans for the development and possible deployment
of nuclear weapons, a threshold that if crossed could cock the nuclear
In Kashmir, there has been continuing worrisome activity along the
line of control, including exchanges of fire and troop movements. Such
events have been common in the past, and it is difficult to determine
the level of threat these most recent incidents pose. Neither side
appears intent on provoking a military confrontation, though we cannot
rule out the possibility for further provocative steps by either side
and remain concerned about the potential for miscalculation and
escalation. We have informed both New Delhi and Islamabad about our
concerns in this regard, in the strongest possible terms.
U.S. Response
As you know, Mr. Chairman, Pakistan's decision to test was not
entirely unexpected, and the Administration and in particular the
President worked diligently to try to persuade the Pakistani
government to capture the political and moral high ground. The
President said it best. Pakistan missed a "priceless opportunity" to
gain the world's support, appreciation, and assistance. I am very
grateful to you, Mr. Chairman, for all that you did in the two week
period after India tested, including your introduction of legislation
to repeal the Pressler amendment. While we did not succeed in our
ultimate objective, I believe we did the right thing, and in the
process established a benchmark for how the Executive branch and the
Congress can and should cooperate when important national interests
are at stake.
The back-to-back tests by India and Pakistan unquestionably represent
a set-back for the search for peace and stability in the South Asian
subcontinent, and indeed, for the cause of global non-proliferation
and moving towards a world where fewer states are relying on nuclear
weapons for their greatness or for their defense.
But that cause, if anything, is even more important today than it was
a few short weeks ago, before the Indian tests. The United States is
going to stay at it, and we are working very hard to come up with the
most promising and appropriate next steps.
Just as we responded to the Indian tests, the United States has moved
swiftly to invoke sanctions and to condemn Pakistan's reciprocal
tests. This type of behavior, Mr. Chairman, we find especially
troubling as it threatens to spiral out of control. Both India and
Pakistan have taken pains to assure us that they do not wish to start
a conflict, yet when each has found itself the object of international
outrage, it has acted provocatively in an effort to get the other to
respond, thereby shifting blame. We can only hope that the two
countries realize where such behavior can lead, and that they cease
and desist immediately lest the tit-for-tat cycle lead to military
confrontation, with potentially devastating consequences.
In the short term, Mr. Chairman, we are focussing our efforts on ways
to prevent further provocative acts, to get both sides to end further
tests, and to prevent related escalation such as missile testing and
deployment. We are encouraging the immediate resumption of direct
dialogue between India and Pakistan and are working to shore up the
international non-proliferation regime. In the end, Mr. Chairman, no
effort to restore regional stability or resolve Indo-Pakistani
tensions can be effective unless the brunt of the work is borne by
India and Pakistan themselves. Now is the time for them to demonstrate
to the world that they are responsible nations, capable of talking to
one another, and willing to address seriously the issues between them.
These are sovereign nations, democracies both, and they must find ways
to communicate as they have in the past -- particularly in view of the
gravity of the current state of affairs. We and the rest of the
international community urge them to do so.
Looking Ahead
Now and for the foreseeable future, we will enforce sanctions firmly,
correctly, and promptly, in full compliance with the Glenn Amendment
and other legislative authorities. We will continue working to ensure
the widest possible multilateral support for the steps we have taken.
A vigorous enforcement regime will be necessary for India and Pakistan
to perceive that their actions have seriously eroded their status in
the international arena, will have a substantial negative impact on
their economies, and that they have compromised, rather than enhanced
their security. We will firmly reject any proposal for India or
Pakistan to join the NPT as a nuclear weapon state. We do not believe
that nations should be rewarded for behavior that flies in the face of
internationally accepted norms.
At the same time, we do not wish to make international pariahs out of
either India or Pakistan. We believe the purpose of these sanctions
should be to influence behavior, not to punish simply for the sake of
punishment. They should not be used to cause the economic collapse of
either state or prevent the meeting of basic humanitarian needs.
Wherever possible, and as the law permits, we should work to reduce
adverse effects on the competitiveness or operations of U.S.
In the longer term, Mr. Chairman, we will seek international support
for our goals, including the need to secure active and responsible
adherence to international non-proliferation norms and a qualitative
improvement in Indo-Pakistani relations. We will be looking for both
parties to take such steps as:
-- Sign and ratio CTBT without delay or conditions.
-- Halt production of fissile material and participate constructively
in FMCT negotiations
-- Accept IAEA safeguards on all nuclear facilities
-- Agree not to deploy or test missile systems
-- Maintain existing restraints against sharing nuclear and missile
technology or equipment with others
-- Agree upon a framework to reduce bilateral tensions, including on
Kashmir In order to do this we will need to work cooperatively with
the international community, and will seek to establish a common
approach. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we are in the process of
organizing a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the five Permanent
Members of the U.N. Security Council tomorrow, which will bring the
full force of the P-5 behind the search for effective ways to ensure
no more tests or escalation in the region. The meeting will also allow
the P-5 to reaffirm its commitment to global non-proliferation through
such mechanisms as the NPT, CTBT, and negotiations towards a fissile
material cut-off treaty. We will urge signing and ratification of CTBT
by India and Pakistan under the terms I just mentioned, and explore
ways to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan and provide
them the means to air their legitimate concerns. We will work to keep
the international community engaged and will follow up with a meeting
of the G-8 in London next week.
Mr. Chairman, we believe that the approach we have laid out is sound,
and that the P-5 conference will help us achieve over time the
objectives we have established. We will work very hard to see that
these significant steps will be taken, and that they will result in a
more stable region and help to repair the damage done to the
international non-proliferation regime. That said, Mr. Chairman, I
regret that I must conclude on a somber note. Even if we succeed in
meeting these difficult challenges, it will be some time before the
world looks at India and Pakistan through the same eyes as it did
before May 11th, when India tested. Then, we were making serious
progress in establishing that the United States wanted to enhance its
relationship with both countries, on a full range of issues, as
together we approached the 21st century. We saw great promise in a
region where democracy had a solid foundation, where U.S. trade and
commercial interests were firmly established and beginning to
flourish, where significant opportunities existed for expanding
cooperation on such matters as health, education, and the environment,
and finally, where we were working with the two main protagonists on
establishing areas of restraint on our key concerns about
Today that view of the region has been dealt an enormous setback. In
the past three weeks, India and Pakistan have conjured up all of the
old and regrettable images of two nations hostage to 50 years of
bitter enmity, and of the region as a place where only one issue --
non-proliferation -- matters. I would not want to leave you with the
impression that we have foregone our desire to resume productive,
cooperative, indeed warm relations with either India or Pakistan, or
that we have lost faith in either government to do the right thing. We
have not. But one of the legacies of recent events will be the
resurrection in world opinion of the old, narrow view of the
subcontinent: India vs. Pakistan, the zero sum game. That legacy will
probably endure for a long time. Speaking as one who has worked to
change attitudes, perceptions, and old prejudices about the region, I
am both saddened and deeply concerned by the recent turn of events.
Recently, one alarmed Indian politician asked a very simple question:
"where does all this lead?" The leaders of India and Pakistan have the
immediate responsibility to answer that question -- for the people of
their countries and for the international community.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(End text)

Join the mailing list