FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 11, 1998
CONTACT: Steven Dolley
INDIAN NUCLEAR TEST SURE TO TRIGGER ARMS RACE;Washington-- "India's announcement today of three underground nuclear tests is deplorable and is almost certain to trigger one or more nuclear test blasts by Pakistan," said Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute.
SIGNALS A FAILED CLINTON NON-PROLIFERATION POLICY
NCI is a non-proliferation advocacy center that has long advocated ways for the two regional rivals to place a cap on their unannounced nuclear arms race.
"The nuclear arms race in South Asia is now out in the open, and both nations move ever closer to nuclear catastrophe," Leventhal said. "Nuclear deterrence may not work in a region that has fought three wars since 1948."
"India's decision to test is a clear repudiation of a failed Clinton Administration nuclear non-proliferation policy. At the urging of the Council on Foreign Relations, President Clinton has unwisely offered economic assistance to India, possibly even including the supply of nuclear power plants, without making clear that India's continued abstinence from nuclear weapons was a bottom-line U.S. objective in U.S.-India nuclear relations.
"Much attention has been paid of late to Pakistan's crash program to develop a nuclear-capable missile with Chinese nuclear assistance. But Pakistan's recent start-up of its first plutonium-production reactor at Khushab, with Chinese assistance and U.S. acquiescence, must also have figured large in India's decision to test.
"NCI's appeals to the Clinton Administration to demand that China take back a large surplus of heavy water that China had provided Pakistan for use in a safeguarded power reactor fell upon deaf ears. It is a virtual certainty that Pakistan diverted Chinese-supplied heavy water to start-up its military plutonium- production reactor soon after a U.S.-China nuclear cooperation agreement came into force.
"At this point, the United States should call on India to agree to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, now that it has completed a series of nuclear tests. Both France and China established such a precedent by joining the CTB after conducting a last round of tests.
"President Clinton has no choice now but to impose sanctions on India under the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act of 1994. The act requires the President to cut off economic and military assistance to a non-nuclear weapon state that tests a nuclear weapon."
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