Bush Waives Nuclear-Related Sanctions on India, Pakistan

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NEWS AND NEGOTIATIONS

EXERCISING WAIVER AUTHORITY granted by Congress in 1999, on September 22 President George W Bush lifted sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan for their 1998 nuclear tests. The president also removed other sanctions related to Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons.

The decision to lift sanctions on Pakistan came in large part due to the cooperation Washington received from Islamabad after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. At a September 24 press briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "We intend to support those who support us. We intend to work with those governments that work with us in this fight [against terrorism]."

Boucher also said that removing the sanctions is "an important step forward in being able to pursue our goals with Pakistan, to be able to support Pakistan, and to cooperate more easily with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism." He added that this "allows us to do some things very quickly and very immediately to support Pakistan."

The nuclear sanctions on Pakistan, some of which date back as far as 1979, were originally intended to prevent the further development and testing of nuclear weapons. After the 1998 nuclear tests, the Clinton administration tried to use those sanctions and the test-related sanctions to pressure India and Pakistan to restrain their nuclear weapons activities.

The nuclear sanctions barred all U.S. economic and military assistance to Pakistan, and their waiver would have allowed nearly all of this aid to-proceed. However, other sanctions imposed after the October 1999 military takeover of Pakistan's democratically elected government prohibit Washington from providing most of this assistance. In addition, other sanctions imposed for the receipt of Chinese missile components do not allow certain Pakistani entities to receive U.S. missile and space assistance.

However, the coup sanctions do not bar U. …