NUCLEAR DETONATIONS IN INDIA (Senate - May 13, 1998)

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Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I want to take a little time again today to talk about the perilous situation that we find in south Asia at this point in time. Once again, in complete disregard of world opinion, in complete disregard of peace in the region, in complete disregard of the concerns of its neighbors and its allies and friends, yesterday the nation of India once again detonated two more nuclear devices. That makes five in 2 days.

What I hear around here, Mr. President, people are saying, what have they done? Have they lost their senses? Have they lost all concept of reality? Have they gone berserk? Are they completely nutty now? Those are the kinds of things I hear around the Chamber and around the Capitol--people

talking about India, and what has happened to them. I do not believe that all Indians have gone berserk or that all Indians are crazy, but certainly something has happened with their Government to flaunt what they have done, to go ahead and not only set off three in 1 day, but two the next day, and also near the border of Pakistan. For the life of me, I cannot understand what they can possibly be thinking of.

So, I am pleased that the President has announced that he will, in accordance with the law, invoke the full range of sanctions that are required under the Nuclear Policy Prevention Act of 1994. These are tough, and we want to make sure that the administration follows through on them. We have to end all foreign assistance and loans to the Nation of India. We must terminate all military aid and weapons transfers. We must oppose international foreign aid and financial assistance to the Nation through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. I understand many of our allies have decided to join in placing these sanctions on India. The law requires it, and we must place the full measure of the law on India in this regard.

Mr. President, I visited the south Asia region twice in the last year and a half. I understand the complexity of their internal politics and their international relations. But I must say this, that whatever problems there may have been before have been multiplied a thousandfold by what India just did.

Again, I hope the nations in that region will exercise caution and restraint in light of this. Right now, India has become the pariah of the world community of nations, and rightfully so, for what it has done. It should remain a pariah for a considerable amount of time, until it reverses its course, until it sits down with its neighbors to reach peaceful solutions in that area, until India is willing to sit down with its neighbor, Pakistan, and solve once and for all the issue of Kashmir; until India is ready to sit down with its neighbor, Pakistan, and secure their borders; until India is willing to disavow putting their nuclear arsenals within their military. Until that time, until these things are done, India will and should remain a pariah among the world community of nations.

Earlier today, our Secretary of Defense appeared before our Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. We discussed these developments in south Asia and what they mean. Will there be a nuclear arms race now in the region? Will Pakistan follow suit and detonate a nuclear weapons test in response to India? What about China? What is China going to do now? How about Iran? Don't forget, they have a border also. What is Iran going to do now that India has taken this step? So what are all these nations going to do?

Secretary Cohen this morning, in open testimony, indicated that we may see a chain reaction of events. I think that is an apt term, considering the physics of nuclear fission. Just as a nuclear explosion is an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction, so we may see uncontrolled events now happen in that region. But, just like a nuclear chain reaction, there are things you can do to slow it down and stop it. Just as in a nuclear powerplant, to slow down the chain reaction, they stick in the graphite rods to slow down the reaction, so we need to insert some graphite rods into the events that just happened in south Asia.

What I mean by that is that I believe that certain steps must be taken to slow down these events. First of all, as I mentioned, we must apply the full force and effect of law on the sanctions to India. Second, I believe we must meet with

Pakistan at the earliest possible time to discuss our mutual security needs in that area of the world; to discuss them with Pakistan, who has been a friend and an ally going clear back to the establishment of Pakistan as a nation. When people wondered what direction Pakistan would go, would they go to the Soviet Union or would they tilt toward the United States, Pakistan declared at that time they would go with the United States, they would follow the path of democracy and freedom and not with the Soviet Union.

Time and time and time again, Pakistan has come to our aid, our assistance, whether it was overflights over the Soviet Union for purposes of intelligence gathering, helping us in that terrible war in Afghanistan. There are still over a million refugees in the country of Pakistan from that war that helped topple the Soviet Union. Every step of the way, Pakistan has been our friend and our ally. So I think we need to meet with them at the earliest possible time to discuss our mutual security interests in that area.

Next, I hope President Clinton will, at the earliest possible time, indicate that he will not be visiting India this year. I know there has been a trip planned for the President to visit Pakistan and India this fall. I call upon the President to indicate now that, because of these events, it would not be right and proper for him to visit India but that it would be right and proper for him to visit Pakistan and perhaps other nations in that area such as Bangladesh. So, I call upon him to call off that visit to India to send another strong signal.

And, third, in order to put these graphite rods back into this chain reaction and to slow it down, I believe we need to press ahead with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or the CTBT, that would outlaw all nuclear weapons tests globally. So far, 149 nations have signed the treaty. In fact, we thought we were going to get it all done in August of 1996, except one nation walked out and refused to sign it--India. And now we know why. Is it too late for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? I don't believe so. In fact, I believe what has happened in India more than anything indicates that we have to act now in the U.S. Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

We have not taken it up yet, and we should. We have signed it. It is now sitting before the Senate. We ought to take it up because the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will help put those graphite rods back in that chain reaction, slowing down uncontrolled events in south Asia.

The CTBT will not by itself eliminate the possibility of proliferation, but it will make it extremely difficult for nuclear nations, such as India, to develop sophisticated weapons that could be delivered by ballistic missiles.

Again, we have India, and they set off their underground explosions. But, as we know, that is not the end of the line in terms of developing the kind of weapons that can be delivered by ballistic missiles. If we don't sign and if we don't urge other nations and India to sign the CTBT, this will not be the end of India's nuclear testing, believe me. They are now going to have to refine their warheads. They are going to have to have further testing so that they have the kind of warheads they can deliver with missiles and perhaps aircraft. We have to stop that from happening, and that is why we need the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

It would have been better if we had this in effect beforehand to stop what happened in India, but we didn't have it. We can't turn the clock back. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, but what we can do is we can push ahead now.

Here is how I see it, Mr. President. We have to put the full force and effect of the law on India with all these sanctions, cut off all aid, military assistance and cut off all World Bank loans and IMF. In fact, I think we ought to withdraw our ambassador, which the President has done, and not send him back. Then I believe the U.S. Senate should ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and insist that India do so immediately, before we ever lift any sanctions. In that way, India may have a bomb, but they may not have something that they could deliver on the head of a missile.

That is why I believe it is so important that we bring up the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and ratify it in the Senate and stop this madness, stop these uncontrolled events that may take place in south Asia unless we act right now.

In fact, I must say, I know the occupant of the chair has spoken on this issue. I know he had a hearing on it today. Quite frankly, I am somewhat shocked that more Senators are not out here talking about what has happened in India in the last couple of days. I believe this is the biggest single danger to world peace that we have faced perhaps in the last 20 to 30 years, because uncontrolled events can start taking place.

On the one hand, I believe we must come down with the full force and effect of the law on India. I believe the President should call off his trip there this fall. I believe we need to meet with our friends in Pakistan to discuss our mutual security needs in that area. On the other hand, we need to ratify a comprehensive test ban treaty and then say to India, `If you want to rejoin the community of nations, sign, join, no more testing.' Then we get other nations to sign it, and we will have a comprehensive test ban treaty and will stop the uncontrolled events that may be unfolding in south Asia.

It is a perilous time. India cannot be excused from what it did. Hopefully, the community of nations can put the proper pressure on India to come to its senses and join the rest of the world community in saying, `No; that they will never ever test nuclear weapons ever again.'

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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Mrs. HUTCHISON addressed the Chair.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.

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