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|September 18, 1998||
US experts call for easing technology controls on India
A group of prominent South Asia experts in the United States has suggested easing the controls on the export of dual-use technology to India.
The easing of such controls is one of the demands being made by India in its talks with the US to deal with the situation arising out of its nuclear tests in May.
The experts, who constituted a task force chaired by Richard N Haass, director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institutions, and Morton H Halperin, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, have not endorsed more ambitious US policies dictated solely by nuclear concerns. They have instead urged the administration to recognise other important interests in promoting democracy, expanding economic growth, and co-operating with India and Pakistan on global challenges.
The task force's report, which was released in Washington yesterday, says the administration's nuclear non-proliferation aims in the South Asian region are "unrealistic", specially the idea of a complete "rollback" to a non-nuclear South Asia.
It says, "What India and Pakistan learned from the recent tests cannot be unlearned and for the foreseeable future neither country will eliminate its stockpiles or sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear state. Such goals are likely only in the context of giant strides toward global disarmament and improvement in Indo-Pakistan and Sino-Indian relations."
The report says a rollback to a non-nuclear South Asia is not even a realistic medium-term policy option. "The United States should keep the broader interests in South Asia in mind, specially its economic stakes, and abandon the narrow, sanctions-dominated policy which is unrealistic and could thwart American goals in the long run."
It urges congress to grant a broad waiver authority to President Bill Clinton to remove sanctions against India and Pakistan and allow diplomacy to play a role.
The report partly blames China for the situation in the region, given its own nuclear and missile programmes that concern India and the assistance it has been providing Pakistan.
It calls upon China to cap its strategic force levels to encourage India to do the same. It says China should remove warheads from its missiles, de-alert its forces, institute confidence-building measures, and act in a "constructive manner".
The report calls upon India and Pakistan to cap their nuclear programmes at current levels, sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, participate in the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, not deploy missiles with nuclear warheads or aircraft with nuclear bombs, abide by the Missile Technology Control Regime, initiate confidence-building measures, calm the situation in Kashmir, and begin talks to improve relations.
If India and Pakistan take some of these steps, it says, the bulk of the sanctions should be removed. World Bank lending and private loans should be allowed. "The United States needs to move away from the 'light switch' approach central to the Glenn Amendment and toward a more modulated use of sanctions as symbolised by a rheostat," it adds.
The expert group has disagreed with the idea of linking Clinton's proposed visit to India with progress in the talks between the two countries. Clinton should visit the region since such a trip is in the broader interests of all countries, it has suggested.
It has also suggested that the US provide intelligence and selective technology to India and Pakistan in support of specific confidence-building measures to dispel rumours or disprove false assessments that could stimulate an "unnecessary" arms competition or unauthorised or accidental use of nuclear weapons.
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