News

USIS Washington 
File

16 June 1999

TEXT: BROWNBACK: LIFTING ECONOMIC SANCTIONS WILL ENHANCE CLOSER TIES

(Subcontinent's nuclear programs must meet international norms) (1430)

Washington -- Senator Sam Brownback, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, told
businessmen on June 16 that the suspension of U.S. economic sanctions
against India, imposed because of its nuclear tests last year, "will
allow the U.S. to engage with India on many fronts out of the shadow
of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty)."

Brownback introduced legislation to lift economic sanctions against
India last week and on June 15 it passed the U.S. Senate. The proposed
legislation will soon go before the U.S. House of Representatives.

"The U.S. has real and legitimate political, economic and security
interests with India and we need to understand and engage on all
levels as soon as possible," said Brownback, who spoke to the
U.S.-India Business Council's annual meeting.

He noted that his proposed legislation would give the Clinton
Administration waiver authority on dual use items which do not
contribute directly to weapons of mass destruction programs.

The legislation also allows waivers for foreign military financing and
foreign military sales. "We have included language indicating that the
'entities list' needs refinement," Brownback said. "This should give
the Administration expanded tools to use in negotiations with India
and to broaden the relationship."

Brownback believes that India's decision to develop its own nuclear
program stemmed from the loss of support of the Soviet Union; the
growth of China's military power; and the transfer of nuclear
technology to India's neighbors.

Brownback's position on lifting sanctions was echoed in remarks given
by Dean R. O'Hare, chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council, who
said that the Glenn Amendment, which automatically imposed a wide
array of economic and political sanctions on any nations which
detonate nuclear weapons, other than the five recognized nuclear
powers, threatened to hit U.S. companies hardest and "even terminating
some long-established lines of commerce" with India.

Following is the text of Brownback's remarks:

(begin text)

It is a great pleasure to be here today and I'm grateful for the
opportunity to talk about India and US policy towards India. As you
know, this has been a hot topic recently in Congress and I welcome the
opportunity to lay out my views on why I believe we must change US
policy towards India.

As you all know, a year ago both India and Pakistan conducted nuclear
tests which, according to US law, mandated the imposition of total
sanctions on both countries. Last year I introduced a measure, which
the Congress passed, providing the Administration with a one-year
presidential waiver for the economic sanctions. This waiver authority
will expire in October of this year and if we are to have normal
relations with India, we must revisit the issue of economic sanctions.
Last week Senator Roberts and I sponsored a measure in the DOD
appropriations bill which, if it becomes law, would help change our
relationship with India -- for the better.

Let me be direct: I believe that the United States must encourage a
broad, stable and improved relationship between our two nations.
Unfortunately, the Administration's India policy is too narrowly
focused on one issue, getting India's signature on the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty. Our relationship with India must not be held hostage
to any single issue.

The US has real and legitimate political, economic and security
interests with India and we need to understand and engage on all
levels as soon as possible. Seizing the opportunity that we have to
build greater ties should be one of our main foreign policy goals. We
are, after all, the two most populous democratic nations in the world.
Our relationship should be based on shared values and institutions,
economic collaboration, including enhanced trade and investment, and
the goal of regional stability across Asia; NOT on economic blackmail
to sign on to a treaty the United States Senate may not even ratify.

Don't misunderstand me, security concerns ARE a vital issue, I simply
do not believe they should be the only issue on which we deal with a
country like India. This is the largest democracy in the world. The US
should not be blackmailing other democracies and hurting their
economies! It IS important to try to get both India and Pakistan to
get their nuclear programs in line with international norms. It should
NOT be the ONLY point on which we can deal with them.

If anything, this is a time when we should be working hard to develop
even closer ties: India is looking to us to be partners. India's
recent decision to go nuclear has its roots in the collapse of the
Soviet Union, the growth of Chinese military power, and in the even
more recent transfer of nuclear technology to India's neighbors on all
sides. And it is clear that India has reason to consider China to be a
most serious security threat.

We ourselves are in the middle of a serious crisis in our relationship
with China, yet at each turn, knowing this, the Administration has
been rewarding China -- a country that has openly and continually
challenged US interests and values -- while first ignoring, and now
punishing India. The inequity in this situation is both striking and
counterintuitive. Why reward the country which is aggressively working
against everything we stand for, and at the same time punish and
blackmail a country with which we share basic values and interests?

China's transfer of technology to other countries, including Iran,
although illegal under the Missile Technology Control Regime and other
agreements, has attracted no penalties. In fact, the Administration
has turned a blind eye to Chinese violations of the NPT, and we have
seen that the Administration worked actively to EASE the difficulty of
sharing sensitive technology with the Chinese. YET, the US has stuck
to the letter of the law in denying India critical World Bank and IMF
loans and access to critical safety-related equipment and spare parts
for its aging, civilian power plants.

We also continue systematically to overlook China's miserable human
rights record. The State Department, in its 1999 Human Rights Report,
stated that China has "continued to commit widespread and
well-documented human rights abuses." India has tried to address the
needs of numerous ethnic, religious, and linguistic communities. And
in India we see a vibrant democratic process in action. India has a
parliament, courts of law, political parties and a free press and
elections for which hundreds of millions of voters turn out, as a
result of which governments fall and are formed. Yet India is the one
to be sanctioned.

And now we find that China has been systematically purloining our
secrets to such an extent that it could pose a serious threat to the
United States. And we feel threatened! Imagine if we were neighbors of
China's with a history of conflicts with China. That is the situation
India is in.

What is going on in China is not our only interest in India: America
is India's largest trading partner. India is ethnically and
religiously diverse as no other state: it boasts in addition to the
large Hindu and Muslim populations, an important ancient Christian
civilization that dates from St. Thomas, as well as one of the oldest
Jewish communities in the world. India straddles two oceans, and as
such will be a pivotal player in world politics. It is hard to imagine
how the US can engage effectively in Asia without a stronger and more
diverse relationship with India.

That is the rationale behind the amendment Senator Roberts and I
introduced last week: Suspending economic sanctions will allow the US
to continue to engage with India on many fronts out of the shadow of
CTBT. At the same time, we have provided the Administration with the
waiver authority on dual use items which do not contribute directly to
weapons of mass destruction programs; waiver for foreign military
financing, waiver for foreign military sales. And we have included
language indicating that the entities list needs refinement. This
should give the Administration expanded tools to use in negotiations
with India and to broaden the relationship.

US economic sanctions on India make no sense. Our interests must
address what is real. Instead of chastising India, the US should be
engaging India on a broad range of issues. I look forward to working
with you on this and hope you will be able to provide your support to
see that this amendment becomes law.

(end text)