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USIS Washington 
File

22 January 1999

TEXT: TALBOTT REMARKS ON NON-PROLIFERATION, SECURITY IN SOUTH ASIA

(Stresses "direct linkage between economic and political freedom")
(3580)

Stanford, California -- India and Pakistan, in 1999, can become a part
of the solution to the problem of regional and global proliferation,
if they so choose, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said
January 16.

Because of the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May
1998, "we are confronted with a lamentable but for the foreseeable
future, irreversible fact: India and Pakistan have formally and
overtly demonstrated that they have nuclear weapons," Talbott said.

"In so doing, they made themselves in 1998 even more part of the
problem of regional and global proliferation than they were before.
However, they can, in 1999, if they so choose, move back in the
direction of being part of the solution -- and they can do that while
enhancing their own security at the same time," Talbott said in a
address to the Conference on Diplomacy and Preventive Defense at
Stanford University.

"One way they can move back in the right direction in the political
sphere is by intensifying contacts and confidence-building measures,
including on the issue of Kashmir. But they can also do it by taking
four important steps in the security field:

-- by adhering to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
-- by making possible a moratorium on the further production of
fissile material;
-- by demonstrating prudence and restraint in the development, flight
testing and storage of ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable
aircraft, and
-- by strengthening export controls.

Talbott, who next week will travel to New Delhi and Islamabad for
Round eight of parallel dialogues with India and Pakistan following
their nuclear tests last May, said "our discussions with the Indians
and Pakistanis over the past seven and a half months have inevitably
focused on these core non-proliferation issues, but we've tried not to
lose sight of the broader context -- and indeed the broader definition
of security itself.

"With both parties, we have been trying to make the case that security
is not just a matter of what kind of weapons they have and in what
quantities; rather, security is also, crucially, a matter of raising
living standards and building healthy democracies."

"While the record is mixed and the future clouded, there is reason for
some encouragement. Today, more people live under democratic rule in
South Asia than in any other part of the world," Talbott said.

He also made the point that "the gravitational pull of South Asian
democracy extends well beyond South Asia. If India's democracy
continues to flourish, it can exercise a positive influence on those
countries in East Asia where democracy is either in jeopardy or only a
gleam in the eye of would-be reformers. ... India can continue to
serve as an important reminder to China that democracy is not only
possible, but also necessary, if a government is to succeed in binding
a huge and diverse population into a successful modern state," he
noted.

Pakistan "combines the attributes of a deeply religious society with
many strengths of a moderate, pluralistic democratic political system.
As such, it has the potential to encourage likeminded forces in an
Islamic world that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia."

Discussing the "direct linkage between economic and political
freedom," Talbott noted that "... the region is beginning to realize
its potential as a market for foreign business and investment, and
it's making important strides toward integrating into a regional
trading bloc. ..."

"But for the pieces of this puzzle to come together in a way -- and in
a time frame -- that benefits all the countries of the region, three
things must happen.

"First, there has to be a high degree of commerce, confidence and
cooperation among the states of the area. That means peace -- not just
peace today, or peace in the sense of absence of war, but a
predictable, stable, sturdy peace stretching into the future.

"Second, the international financial institutions must be prepared to
increase their support for infrastructure, telecommunications,
transportation, the energy sector and financial reform.

"Third, the countries of the region must be able to attract foreign
investment.

Pointing to what he called the "darker side of the picture," Talbott
said there has been a resurgence in the last several years "of forces
in both India and Pakistan that threaten to undermine pluralism, civil
society, good governance and the rule of law -- without which
democracy loses its viability and indeed its meaning. ...

"The world has been watching closely the growth in India of caste and
religious based politics. Even more alarming has been the spate of
murderous attacks on Christians in Gujarat and Shantinagar...," he
said. "It's with much the same apprehension that we've seen, in
Pakistan, the trend toward "Islamicizing" the constitutional and legal
system. This development has coincided with outbreaks of deadly
sectarian violence in Karachi and the Punjab."

Following is the text of Talbott's remarks:

(Begin text)

DIALOGUE, DEMOCRACY AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN SOUTH ASIA
BY STROBE TALBOTT
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE

An Address to the Conference on Diplomacy and Preventive Defense,
Co-sponsored by the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly
Conflict and the Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Project
January 16, 1999
Stanford University

Thank you, Chris [Warren Christopher], for the kind introduction and
for the chance to serve for four years at your side. It is also to be
back together with our other colleagues: Bill [Perry], Peter
[Tarnoff], Frank [Wisner], Tom [Simons] and Ash [Carter]. Chris, it
was you who introduced me to the practice of preventive diplomacy in
South Asia. Immediately after swearing me in as your deputy in 1994,
you dispatched me to Pakistan and India with the assignment of trying
to persuade the two Prime Ministers, Benazir Bhutto and P.V. Narasimha
Rao, from ratcheting up their military competition. I was not totally
successful.

But I had already learned a thing or two about patience from Warren
Christopher, so, undeterred, I have persisted. A week from next
Thursday, I'm joining the other members of our interagency flying
squad -- Joe Ralston, Rick Inderfurth, Bob Einhorn, Bruce Riedel and
Matt Daley -- for a trip to New Delhi and Islamabad. It will be Round
eight of the parallel dialogues we've been conducting with India and
Pakistan in the aftermath of the explosions last May in the Pokhran
Desert of Rajasthan and the Chigai Hills of Baluchistan.

Here is the essence of what I see as both the challenge and what we
are trying to do. Because of those tests, we are confronted with a
lamentable but for the foreseeable future, irreversible fact: India
and Pakistan have formally and overtly demonstrated that they have
nuclear weapons. In so doing, they made themselves in 1998 even more
part of the problem of regional and global proliferation than they
were before. However, they can, in 1999, if they so choose, move back
in the direction of being part of the solution -- and they can do that
while enhancing their own security at the same time.

One way they can move back in the right direction in the political
sphere is by intensifying contacts and confidence-building measures,
including on the issue of Kashmir. But they can also do it by taking
four important steps in the security field: first, by adhering to the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; second, by making possible a moratorium
on the further production of fissile material; third, by demonstrating
prudence and restraint in the development, flight testing and storage
of ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft; and fourth, by
strengthening export controls.

Our discussions with the Indians and Pakistanis over the past seven
and a half months have inevitably focused on these core
non-proliferation issues, but we've tried not to lose sight of the
broader context -- and indeed the broader definition of security
itself. With both parties, we have been trying to make the case that
security is not just a matter of what kind of weapons they have and in
what quantities; rather, security is also, crucially, a matter of
raising living standards and building healthy democracies. The essence
of the argument that we're making to the Indians and Pakistanis is
that in pursuing what we believe is their ill-advised reliance on
nuclear deterrence, we hope very much they will not jeopardize the
other, political and economic dimensions of their own safety.

Let me elaborate, starting with the issue of democracy. It has long
been a guiding principle of American foreign policy -- which is to
say, American preventive diplomacy -- that promoting democracy
advances America's own interests, including its security interests.
That is because democracies are more likely to abide by their
international commitments -- more likely to be stable trading
partners, less likely to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors,
and less likely to make war on each other.

South Asia has been a testing ground for that proposition. While the
record is mixed and the future clouded, there is reason for some
encouragement. Today, more people live under democratic rule in South
Asia than in any other part of the world. As South Asian democracies
have matured, they have generally moved to settle their differences in
peaceful fashion.

India and Pakistan's neighbors also offer evidence of a more hopeful
trend. Tensions and misunderstandings are far less likely to arise
between India and its smaller neighbors, Bangladesh and Nepal, now
that democracy has taken root in those countries and now that India
has consciously moved toward an admirably more far-sighted and
generous approach.

Even in Sri Lanka, whose long democratic experience has failed thus
far to end a bloody ethnic conflict, most observers and many
government officials believe that a resolution will not be achieved on
the battle field, but through negotiations and the devolution of
power.

But now let me do what our Indian interlocutors frequently urge us to
do, and that is look beyond the Subcontinent. The gravitational pull
of South Asian democracy extends well beyond South Asia. If India's
democracy continues to flourish, it can exercise a positive influence
on those countries in East Asia where democracy is either in jeopardy
or only a gleam in the eye of would-be reformers.

One such country that would so benefit is China -- which is very much
on India's mind, as well as our own. India can continue to serve as an
important reminder to China that democracy is not only possible, but
also necessary, if a government is to succeed in binding a huge and
diverse population into a successful modern state. As others have
noted, China is an immensely complicating dimension to what we are
talking about at this conference. China's role in the security
situation on the Subcontinent would provide enough fodder for a whole
different follow-up session.

As for Pakistan, it has an important and positive role to play beyond
the bounds of South Asia. Pakistan combines the attributes of a deeply
religious society with many strengths of a moderate, pluralistic
democratic political system. As such, it has the potential to
encourage likeminded forces in an Islamic world that stretches from
Morocco to Indonesia.

That is the good news to date, and it has promising implications for
the future.

But there's a darker side of the picture as well. In the last several
years, we've seen the resurgence of forces in both India and Pakistan
that threaten to undermine pluralism, civil society, good governance
and the rule of law -- without which democracy loses its viability and
indeed its meaning. In both countries, extremist factions and
sectarian-based parties are on the rise. The world has been watching
closely the growth in India of caste and religious based politics.
Even more alarming has been the spate of murderous attacks on
Christians in Gujarat and Shantinagar. India today reverberates with
inflammatory rhetoric from religious leaders who seem bent on opening
the wounds that Gandhi and Nehru worked so hard to heal -- and thus
jeopardizing what Indians rightly and proudly regard as their
"civilizational" experience.

It's with much the same apprehension that we've seen, in Pakistan, the
trend toward "Islamicizing" the constitutional and legal system. This
development has coincided with outbreaks of deadly sectarian violence
in Karachi and the Punjab. Just two weeks ago in Punjab, sixteen
Shi'ites were gunned down while praying at their mosque in early
January. The attempted assassination of Prime Minister Sharif on
January 3 was another sign of burgeoning political violence.

There appears to be a perverse and dangerous interplay between the
politics of Pakistan and the turmoil inside Afghanistan. With the
emergence of the Taliban, there is growing reason to fear that
militant extremism, obscurantism and sectarianism will infect
surrounding countries. None of those countries has more to lose than
Pakistan if "Talibanization" were to spread further.

All of this is highly relevant to the nuclear question in South Asia
-- and therefore to the American effort to engage in preventive
diplomacy there. In addition to dealing with the immediate issue of
the weapons, we also need to understand the circumstances and trends
that could precipitate their use. That reality poses a challenge for
Indian and Pakistani statecraft: how best to establish security
policies that will, to the greatest extent possible, lengthen the
fuses and remove the hair triggers of weaponry now accumulating in
both countries.

Let me turn now to the other non-military component of security, which
is broad-based prosperity -- or at least a broadly felt hope for
progress in that direction. If the average citizen sees the
possibility for a better future, then the state is, by definition,
stronger and safer.

As Chris and other architects of our support for democracy have
emphasized for many years, there is a direct linkage between economic
and political freedom. Market economies tend to flourish in democratic
settings. Here again, South Asia is a case in point. With the obvious
and glaring exception of Afghanistan, the region is beginning to
realize its potential as a market for foreign business and investment,
and it's making important strides toward integrating into a regional
trading bloc.

Bangladesh -- which is too often neglected in discussions of South
Asian security -- is key to this hopeful pattern. If it were lifted by
a rising tide of regional growth, Bangladesh might gain enough
economic self-confidence to export some of its enormous gas reserves.
That, in turn, would give a push to regional cooperation. It would
fuel India's development as well, given that nation's enormous need
for energy. Pakistan and Nepal -- and, a bit further to the north,
Central Asia -- are also promising sources of natural gas,
hydroelectric power and oil.

But for the pieces of this puzzle to come together in a way -- and in
a time frame -- that benefits all the countries of the region, three
things must happen.

First, there has to be a high degree of commerce, confidence and
cooperation among the states of the area. That means peace -- not just
peace today, or peace in the sense of absence of war, but a
predictable, stable, sturdy peace stretching into the future.

Second, the international financial institutions must be prepared to
increase their support for infrastructure, telecommunications,
transportation, the energy sector and financial reform.

Third, the countries of the region must be able to attract foreign
investment.

None of those conditions is firmly in place today, for reasons that
derive, at least in some measure, to the explosions last May and their
continuing aftershocks.

These are all points that we have included in our dialogues with the
two parties -- and by that I mean not just with the governments of
those countries, but with others as well, media, elites, think tanks,
non-governmental organizations and political figures across a broad
spectrum. That brings me to the last subject I want to touch on: the
public affairs dimension of preventive diplomacy. This is a sensitive
but important dimension of our task.

We understand that Prime Ministers VaJpayee and Sharif must justify
their policies to parliaments, where opposition parties are vigorous,
voluble and skeptical. India and Pakistan are, after all to their
credit and to the world's benefit -- democracies. That fact alone
confronts us, in our own practice of statecraft, with something quite
different from what we have dealt with in our earlier efforts to
conduct arms-control negotiations and head off proliferation with
other nations.

For most of the first half-century of the nuclear age, the U.S.
focused its diplomatic energies on the other nuclear-armed superpower,
which was the opposite of a democracy. Whether under the rubric of
SALT or START or INF or MBFR or CFE, our Russian interlocutors took
their cue exclusively from the Politburo and the General Staff.
Neither they, nor we, gave much thought to sentiment in the Supreme
Soviet or on the editorial pages of Pravda, Izvestia and Krasnaya
Svezda.

It wasn't until the beginning of the Clinton Administration that we
began to get a real taste of what it was like to pursue arms-control
and non-proliferation with fledgling democracies. Chris [Warren
Christopher], Bill Perry, Ash Carter and I spent a lot of 1993 trying
to ensure that, with the breakup of the USSR, there would be only one
nuclear-armed successor state rather than four.

Our hardest work was in Ukraine. During our frequent trips to Kyiv, we
spent a lot of time calling on the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament,
where deputies were loath to let President Kravchuk give up the
Soviet-era nuclear weapons that had ended up on Ukrainian soil. We
succeeded in no small measure because we included a public dimension
to our preventive diplomacy.

In that same spirit, we have pursued our arms-control and
non-proliferation agendas with India and Pakistan in a way that both
recognizes and respects the democratic environment -- with all its
pressures and constraints -- in which our interlocutors are operating.
In this regard, we admire and welcome the assiduous campaigns that
both Prime Ministers have mounted to build support for the CTBT.

For our own part, we have tried to strike a balance between the
appropriate degree of confidentiality in the negotiations and a
necessary degree of transparency with the public. Here, I actually
have in mind four publics: our own here in the U.S., the world's,
India's and Pakistan's.

With respect of American opinion: we will only be able to build a
constituency for dealing with this issue if we are clear and
convincing about the stakes in South Asia and about our handling of
the nuclear challenge. There are aspects to our position that are
inevitably going to be controversial even if -- perhaps I should say,
especially if -- we succeed. For example, there are quite a few
experts and not a few members of Congress who believe that we should
hold India's and Pakistani's feet to the fire, insisting on adherence
to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state and on
a missile-flight-test ban before we grant any significant sanctions
relief.

We believe that following that stern advice would be to make the best
the enemy of the good. But we can't just say, "trust us, but don't ask
us what's going on in this black box." We've got to make the case for
what we're up to and why. We must do the same with regard to
international public opinion, particularly in, those countries -- like
Ukraine, for example, or Brazil or Argentina or South Africa -- that
had the option of going nuclear but instead decided, bravely and
wisely, to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.

In our dialogues with India and Pakistan, we make no claim to having a
formal mandate or proxy from any other country or international
grouping -- the P-5, the G-8, the South Asia Task Force. But we do
feel a political and moral obligation to make sure that our position
and proposals are consistent with the various communiques issued by
those bodies last June, and that we keep faith with the world
community as a whole. That consideration too argues for a carefully
calibrated degree of transparency as we move forward.

Now, as for Indian and Pakistani public opinion: here we obviously and
properly must let the governments in question decide how much they
want to expose to public and parliamentary scrutiny the content of
their side of the dialogues that they are conducting with us. We have
taken pains not to reveal, or respond to, the Indian and Pakistani
positions beyond what their spokesmen have chosen to say in public.
But we have seen fit to summarize our own approach, our own goals and
our own interests. Not least because we think we have some pretty good
arguments worthy of, and appropriate for, consideration and open
discussion as well as closed-door deliberations. That's why, in
addition to our closed-door session with our official interlocutors,
Joe Ralston and I will, in both Delhi and Islamabad, be meeting with
members of the media, non-governmental organizations, and other
opinion-leaders.

In any event, Chris [Warren Christopher], Bill [Perry] and David
[Hamburg], I welcome the chance to be part of your conference here
today -- not least because it gives me a chance to benefit from your
observations and advice. So with that, over to you and to a discussion
that I'm sure Will inform and guide me as I mentally pack for next
week's travels.

(End text)