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USIS Washington 
File

20 May 1998

US URGES INDIA TO SIGN COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY

(SecState Albright commencement speech May 20)  (370)

By Jane A. Morse

USIA Diplomatic Correspondent



New London, Connecticut -- "Now, more than ever" India and Pakistan
should sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, says Secretary of State
Albright.


In a commencement address delivered at the US Coast Guard Academy May
20, Albright reiterated the US call for both India and Pakistan to
sign that international agreement banning the testing of nuclear
devices.


India last week exploded five nuclear devices and Pakistan is
considering whether or not to match India's show of nuclear might by
testing nuclear devices of its own.


But Albright condemned India's flexing of its nuclear muscle, saying
that India's choice "does not reflect that nation's greatness, but
rather a reckless disregard for world opinion and for India's own
reputation.


"The leaders in New Delhi have made a grave historical error," the
Secretary of State said.


She predicted that "India's rash action is sure to heighten security
tensions throughout southern Asia. And other nations may be tempted to
follow India's wrongheaded example."


Pakistan's government, she conceded, is facing "a difficult and
defining challenge." But she added that this challenge also provides
"an unprecedented opportunity.


"For if Pakistan's leaders do not test, they will defy India's
expectations and foil India's desire to drag Pakistan's world standing
down."


An arms race between India and Pakistan, the Secretary warned, would
have "no visible finish line," noting that the two countries have
fought three wars in the last 51 years and remain bitterly divided
over Kashmir and other issues.


International sanctions will "cost India dearly," Albright warned,
adding that sanctions would make Pakistan suffer as well if the
Pakistan government chooses to test nuclear devices.


The Clinton administration will work hard with the US Congress to
respond to Pakistan's economic and security concerns, Albright said.
Restraint on the part of Pakistan, she said, "will show a level of
maturity and responsibility India's current leaders have not." By
declining to match India in nuclear testing, Pakistan's leadership
"will earn precisely the kind of international respect that India
apparently years for, and its people deserve, but which its leaders
have so heedlessly thrown away," Albright said.