NUCLEAR TESTS NOT A PRODUCT OF KASHMIR (House of Representatives - June 16, 1998)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaHood). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my concern over efforts to link Kashmir to the underground nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan.

As my colleagues know, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests last month. The United States condemned the tests and immediately imposed economic sanctions on both countries. The United States has called for both India and Pakistan to stop further nuclear tests, not to weaponize their nuclear arsenal, sign nonproliferation treaties, and work towards easing tensions in South Asia. These are goals that I fully support.

However, there seems to be a growing movement to link Kashmir to the nuclear tests, a linkage which makes no sense, in my opinion.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated that the `recent decisions by India and Pakistan to conduct nuclear tests reflect old thinking about national greatness and old fears stemming from a boundary dispute that goes back more than 5 decades.'

In the Senate, there has been talk of a resolution that would call for U.N. mediation in Kashmir through a U.N. Security Council resolution. The resolution would also ask the United States representative at the U.N. to hold talks with both Pakistani and Indian diplomats at the U.N.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that third-party mediation with regard to Kashmir would be counterproductive. The conflict in Kashmir is 50 years old. It has plagued the 2 countries long before they developed their nuclear programs. Interference by the United Nations, the United States or any other country would not help. In fact, the 2 countries agreed to bilateral resolution of Kashmir, among other issues, through the similar accords that they signed in 1972.

The State Department has a longstanding policy that India and Pakistan must resolve the Kashmir issue directly, and I do not want this to change.

I was happy to read that the Indian Government earlier this week said that it would pursue efforts for a broad-based and sustained dialogue with Pakistan, and I would say that positive steps such as the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan can only help resolve this volatile issue. But as I have said previously, the nuclear tests were not a product of Kashmir. Instead, I would argue that the growing military and nuclear relationship between Pakistan and China pushed India to conduct these tests. Just one week after Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests, U.S. intelligence agencies boarded a Chinese ship carrying weapons materials and electronics destined for Pakistan. This ship was carrying arms materials that included special metals and electronics for the production of Chinese-designed anti-tank missiles made by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories.

Mr. Speaker, China's ballistic missile relationship with Pakistan has prompted more international concern than China's missile trade with any other country. The director of the CIA stated that `The Chinese provided a tremendous variety of assistance to both Iran's and Pakistan's ballistic missile programs.'

It has been reported that China has been working with Pakistan in the sales of M-11 missiles and related technology and equipment since the late 1980s. Earlier this year, Pakistan successfully tested the Ghauri missile. This missile has a range of 1,500 kilometers, and it is believed that the Chinese may have had a role in its development. The Ghauri missile can be fitted with a nuclear device.

Last week, President Clinton stated that China must play an important role in resolving tensions between India and Pakistan. He stated that China must help `forge a common strategy for moving India and Pakistan back from the nuclear arms race.'

Now, I have to say that I applaud the President and the Clinton administration and my colleagues' desire to reduce tensions and bring peace to South Asia in response to the nuclear tests. However, and I stress, that asking China to play a major role as mediator in general makes no sense, given their role in Pakistan's nuclear development. I would suggest instead that the United States needs to continue a bilateral dialogue with the Indian Government and encourage the Indian Government to move away from nuclear proliferation. We, that is the United States, we are in the best position to work with the Indian Government ourselves to achieve this goal.

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