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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Remarks on India and Pakistan
Washington, D.C., June 3, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We clearly, I think, are facing a uniquely serious and dangerous situation. We have a long-standing political conflict that now has the potential of nuclear weapons on either side. While, during the Cold War, we clearly had the United States and the Soviet Union facing each other with nuclear weapons, there were thousands of miles of ocean between the two. And here, these two countries are cheek by jowl. So that creates a uniquely dangerous situation.

As you all know, the conflict between these two countries goes back a long way, to the partition in 1947 and the fact that they have had difficulty accepting each otherís birth and presence; and also does involve a long-standing conflict over Kashmir.

We are obviously very concerned about what has happened. I have been saying to colleagues, as Iíve gone around to various international meetings, that in foreign policy and in international relations, there are many acts that take place between countries and, in some way or another, they can be walked back or can be nuanced, to use a diplomatic phrase. It is very hard to roll this movie back; and that is our concern about how to deal with the issue now and then also, to make sure that it does not escalate.

I am leaving for Geneva with some of you this afternoon. We have worked very hard to put this meeting together of the Permanent Five. The discussions about having this meeting began when we were all in Luxembourg; and weíve, I think, spent a great deal of time over the weekend putting this meeting together.

The Chinese, by rotation of the Permanent Five -- the chairmanship of that rotates, so the Chinese will be in the chair. I have had a number of contacts over the weekend with Foreign Minister Tang, and will be meeting him further in Geneva, as well as with Foreign Minister Primakov; then the others will arrive.

We really have three goals for Geneva, and that is to make sure that this does not escalate, which really means that there should be no further testing of any kind; that there not be any capability of deployment in any way; and no mating of the missiles with nuclear capability. So basically, we are somewhere now between having a capability and deployment. We donít want this to move any further.

We also want to make sure, as a part of that first point, that there is no arms race in the region. We also are going to talk about trying to turn around some of the points of the underlying conflict between the two, which obviously does mean talking about Kashmir; and then doing what we can to shore up, reaffirm the international non-proliferation system.

As I mentioned when I was with the President in the Rose Garden, basically we have, for many years, obviously, been working on this process. So this is not a first step in trying to make sure that nuclear weapons are contained. This, clearly, is not the last step in this particular crisis situation that we are in. There is going to be a meeting on June 12 in London of the G-8; there are other meetings being contemplated. Japan is taking a great interest in the whole issue. Many countries are desirous of being a part of the solution. And I think itís very appropriate, because, frankly, what we have been able to do over the last years is to establish a non-proliferation regime -- 149 countries have signed the CTBT.

In the last few days, wherever Iíve gone, I have been very glad to be able to be a part of organizing statements which condemn the action. So at NATO we had a statement condemning; the NATO Permanent Joint Council made a similar statement; the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council made a similar statement; and today we expect the OAS General Assembly to do the same, which means that we now have about 80 countries that are making it very clear that India and Pakistan have stepped beyond where the international community has come down on what is appropriate behavior in the nuclear age.

I do think that we all breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the Cold War; and, there, definitely in terms of US-Soviet relations, the sigh is correct. But many of us have been saying for a long time that there are new dangers in the post-Cold War period -- nuclear proliferation clearly has been signaled as one of them. Frankly, it is unfortunate that at this stage, the threat of nuclear proliferation has become so material.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the Kashmir problem is as old as India and Pakistan themselves. Do you have any ideas how to begin to approach this problem? Do you think India will be willing to have some international discussion of Kashmir? And when you talk about marrying nuclear weapons to missiles, youíd have to have a really intensive surveillance system. Are the five of you about to propose such a matter? And do you think that either country would permit the kind of inspection you need to know whatís on a warhead?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, on the Kashmir problem, you are right. It is a problem that came about the minute that the partition proposals came about and the princely states chose up which side, which country they were going to go with. The problem in Kashmir of a primarily Muslim population with a Hindu -- a maharajah that headed it, made it very difficult for them to decide.

There have been, over the years, a number of ways tried. The United Nations commissions various individuals that have served as negotiators and mediators. The item has been on the Security Council agenda. The Indians have not wanted it to be discussed. We have urged for some time that there be a dialogue between the two countries about it. I donít want to really pre-sage too much about what really could be the next steps on this, but clearly, they do have to deal with each other on it. Itís going to be one of the subjects that we talk about in Geneva.

Iím looking forward, frankly, to the following kind of dynamic in Geneva, which is that we will be working on some kind of a statement or communiqué; but we will have a fairly open -- not to you, but to us -- free-flowing discussion about the problem. I actually look forward to the kinds of discussions that I had when I was at the UN, where, if something really serious came up, the five powers really shared ideas about it. And I think we will do that.

On the other, Barry, I think we are going to have to look at ways that we can assure ourselves that this is not going to be happening. Because, I think the mating of the missiles with warheads is one of, obviously, a very serious and completely unacceptable and undesirable next phase.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, obviously the Perm Five can have as strong a program as it wants and can have as strong rhetoric as it can muster in Geneva; but if you donít get India and Pakistan to agree to go along with some kind of security talks or at least some participatory process, youíre nowhere. So in your -- have you had conversations recently with the Indians and Pakistanis? Have they indicated any interest in working with the Perm Five towards the goals that you set?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think we all understand that if they are not a part of a dialogue and part of trying to develop a regime that allows us to move forward in a non-dangerous way -- they have to be a part of it. In my discussions with the other members of the Permanent Five, we have talked about the fact that one of the things weíre going to have to discuss is how to bring them into this.

But I think that we have to draw a very fine line here between making it clear that what the Indians and Pakistanis did was unacceptable, and that they are not now members of the nuclear group; but at the same time, that they are not to be isolated or treated as pariahs, but that they need to be a part of the solution. They clearly are the problem, and they do need to be part of the solution. This is not some -- as you pointed out, Carol, it doesnít do us much good if we donít, in some way, get them involved in it.

QUESTION: Going back to the statement that you just made, you said this isnít a movie you can roll back, but at the same time, you donít want to treat India and Pakistan as though theyíre pariah states and isolate them -- you want to include them in the dialogue. Considering the fact that sanctions did not work, what firepower do you think you have left going into Geneva to get these two countries to come around?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me just talk about sanctions a little bit. The sanctions are very strict ones, and are required to be applied. We have to fulfill the law on this. They have a very broad range effect; I think you probably know what they all include. But they are broad-based; and obviously, they were put into place in order to deter -- and they didnít in the case of India and Pakistan. But applying them may deter other countries from thinking that they would want to go this route.

On the other hand, I think that it is very important -- and I hope that we are all learning this -- that sanctions that have no waivers and donít provide any flexibility make it very difficult to carry out a foreign policy that allows us to do the kinds of things that weíre trying to do. So we are going to obviously apply the sanctions. Weíre going to be working with our other members, not just of the Permanent Five, but with other members of the international community to try to figure out different ways to have it be very clear to India and Pakistan that what they did was unacceptable; that what they now have to do is not to test, not to deploy, to become members of the international regime -- the CTBT -- and take a number of steps that are required in terms of trying to at least bring them back into the kind of position Carol was talking about, in terms of allowing a dialogue.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, forgive me if I move your attention a little bit to the West, but thereís a story today that Ambassador Walker is quoted as saying the US is days, not weeks, away from deciding what its role will be in mediating, trying to revive the Middle East peace process. Can I ask you to comment on that?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I have said for a number of -- we have gone over this many, many times; and as I said, Iíve used every analogy in the book, so Iíve run out here. But basically there are some constructive talks going on. We have been pursuing this in a variety of ways. I think that some of the talks are, as I said, constructive and useful.

I have said this many times -- that we will continue talks so long as they are constructive. But I am the first one that is going to declare that they are not when I feel that way. I will make that determination at the time. Iím not going to give it a specific time frame, but soon. I mean, it really -- this is not something thatís going to go on much longer.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said earlier that there would be other meetings after the G-8 meeting in London next Friday. Would those meetings include India and Pakistan? And at what point in this diplomatic process would you bring in India and Pakistan as participants?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Bob, I canít answer that because thatís one of the things I think weíre going to be talking about. As I said, I think we want to talk about that in Geneva, and we will probably talk about that in London.

But from my own perspective, I think itís very important that the Indians take a number of concrete steps so that they, in many ways, have some role to play if we all get together, and then decide under what circumstances itís best to have them join, and what grouping they would join.

This is a process thatís going on. Iím very much looking forward to the P-5 because I think that this is, so to speak, the nucleus of this problem and of dealing with the problem. I think we can expand from that group because I think that the P-5 have experience, one, of dealing with the nuclear issue. We all spent a great deal of time together in the UN during the NPT and the negotiations and deciding about positive and negative assurances. So we have, as the permanent members, spent a lot of time dealing with this issue. And I think that we will, together, determine about when itís a good time to bring them in.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Japan has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan. Theyíve come forward in several proposals. Iím wondering what you think of them. Do you feel that at this point, some outside player should come in as a mediator?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think, again, itís premature at this moment to comment on that. I very much welcome Japanís obvious interest and importance of its role, because I think that one of the issues that ultimately has to be talked about is the whole question of security in South Asia and generally how the security system there can and should work. Japan is a key player in all of that.

I think youíre probably going to hear a number of countries that are volunteering for this role. The question is, when is it appropriate to have such a role? What country or group of countries are the most capable of delivering on such a role? I think some of it does not come from self-nomination. And Iím not speaking of Japan, because I think Japan actually has a geographical and historic role to play. But I think that these are the kinds of things that we are going to have to sort out.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on that very point of security, it hasnít been discussed here an awful lot, but certainly Pakistan feels that it has a genuine security concern. There is no nuclear umbrella over Pakistan. Is there any possibility or any thinking within the US Government that the United States might have to give some kind of security assurance to Pakistan?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think generally there is a sense that we have to deal with the overall security issues. And as I just mentioned, one of the aspects of when we were in New York talking about the NPT was the way that the permanent members gave negative as well as positive security assurances to other countries that were members of the NPT. Now, neither of these two countries are, but there is at least a model of how the nuclear countries can provide some kind of overall positive security assurance.

QUESTION: How does it look with Pakistan?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I canít go beyond that. I mean, I think that there are numbers of ways that we, as the international community, have to make it clear that acquiring nuclear weapons in order to provide for your security at this stage of our world history is not the best way to provide security. They are going against the trend.

Other nations are lowering their numbers of nuclear weapons, and are doing it systematically; certainly, itís what the US and Russia are doing. I think the really sad part here I is that the leadership of India and Pakistan are leading their people to believe that they are more secure and better respected for having exploded these weapons, when I think it will be very evident, if it isnít already, that their people are less secure, that the countries are less respected and, ultimately, the people themselves will literally be poorer. So this was not a good security decision.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you say that youíre looking forward to a free-wheeling discussion with ideas being thrown around as to how to deal with this. Are any of the ideas that the US is bringing, that you are bringing, ideas that you can tell us about -- positive incentives, perhaps, for either side that you could lay out in broad terms?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: You wonít be surprised that Iím not going to kind of lay it out here before I talk to them first.

QUESTION: In general terms --

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I mean, because you might go out there tonight and tell them, right?

I think that generally what we need to do is to ourselves, with them, develop some ideas that would show that it is better for them in terms of their security to stop testing; do nothing in terms of weaponizing; do nothing in terms of deployment; do nothing in terms of mating the missiles with warheads; and doing everything they can in order to try to sort out their basic political conflict. So within those overall guidelines.

QUESTION: I guess I should have been more pointed in my question. Iím wondering whether or not there are economic incentives that could be offered to the two sides, perhaps, that might be effective. And also, whether intelligence-sharing might be a good way to make both sides understand that theyíre safer without those weapons.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we have just put in fairly tough sanctions; so economic incentives is not exactly on our menu.

I think that we will, obviously, be talking about how different countries can behave and react in different ways; and look at a variety of possible ways to resolve this.

But let me just say, I think itís also very important -- there are a number of countries who have voluntarily given up having nuclear weapons. Yesterday in Caracas, I met with two of them -- with Argentina and Brazil -- who had a potential such as the ones -- Iím not prepared to go into the technical aspects of what they had versus what the Indians and Pakistanis have -- but they clearly had a potential.

They have not only given up that potential, but have established a number of mechanisms whereby their scientists talk and deal with each other, and have developed a set of confidence-building measures. South Africa has given up; Ukraine; Belarus; Kazakstan.

What would be highly ironic and unacceptable is if we were to provide to those who have broken the rules some benefits that do not accrue to those who have willingly given it up -- given up the nuclear potential. We actually think that the "could-have-beens" have a very important role to play in helping with this issue. And as we talk about groupings and who can do what and who can have influence, it is my sense that the "could-have-beens" can, in fact, play such a role.

But I think you understand what the problem is here: itís totally wrong to reward those who have become rather than the "could-have-beens." So thatís our guideline.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, just two questions. First, on that point, I think the precedent was probably set with North Korea as far as buying off nuclear "wanna-bes." If you could comment on how that might apply in this case. I know you mentioned there were sanctions, but there were also sanctions against North Korea at the time. And secondly, why do you and others continue to call India and Pakistan to say theyíre not members of the nuclear club -- theyíre not members of the Five, of course, but the greater nuclear club -- when, as a matter of fact, they are?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I think that each situation is somewhat different. With the North Koreans, we had an ability to create a framework agreement that halted their weapons productions and allowed a system to be developed where we could go back and look at what it is that they had. It froze their nuclear program in place -- something that I am very glad we did. I think itís probably -- I can say without hesitation that itís one of the best things that actually has been done in terms of putting a lock on another potential nuclear problem.

The issue as to whether they are or are not members of the nuclear club is, first of all, the NPT has made very clear who the nuclear powers are, and it applies to those countries that tested before 1967. That is not true of India and Pakistan. The NPT, I think, is one of the most important pillars of the non-proliferation regime, and it needs to stand as it is. We believe that it would be incorrect to now name India and Pakistan as members of the nuclear club.

They made very clear, especially India, during the negotiations of the NPT, that they felt themselves above all this, and were genuinely unhelpful throughout the negotiations. As Iíve said, we donít want to isolate them and we donít want to make them pariahs; but we sure donít want to reward them. I think, one, itís wrong, and it would send the wrong signal. And I have to say, the saddest part of all this -- President Clinton alluded to it this morning. I think for those of us that have followed the India-Pakistan story since its birth, I grew up hearing about Gandhi and studying about Gandhi and non-violent protest and democracy and Jawaharlal Nehru, who had a moral authority that permeated various periods of the Cold War. People looked up to Indiaís moral authority.

And I think the very sad part is that while thinking, I guess, this new set of leaders, that they were somehow raising the stature of India, they have undermined a glorious history of a country that has really earned its place in post-World War II history. And Pakistan has gone through many iterations of trying to make its democracy work, of trying to live in a neighborhood by a neighbor who does not like them; and has tried to show its national identity in a respected way. I think they have succumbed to a siren song that we know where they lead. We are witnessing a major error by a group of national leaders who have completely miscalculated how, in todayís world, one earns respect for oneís country.

Thank you.

QUESTION: One more. Madame Albright, it appears that youíre praising China for coming to this meeting and for agreeing to come to Geneva. But shouldnít China be blamed for shipping to Pakistan the wherewithal to create its nuclear program? And also, shouldnít Pakistan be chastised for arming the guerrillas in Kashmir, which is one of the reasons that the BJP took this aggressive posture? And of course, you already have criticized the BJP without naming them. But will you name the BJP for having basically set this thing off?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me just say that in terms of China, clearly, we have been concerned in the past about what their assistance had been to Pakistan in terms of some of their nuclear activities. We have made very clear that that has been a problem. But I think even from here, I have made quite clear that in recent years, they have changed their behavior vis-à-vis the Pakistanis; and they are not providing any assistance to unsafeguarded projects.

So what I have found that has been most heartening about the Chinese is that over the last years, they have systematically become members of a variety of non-proliferation regimes, rules, et cetera. Where I think there has been great benefit to the improving relationship between the United States and China has been the fact that they have become more members of a variety of these regimes. Clearly, Pakistan was also able to get some of its capability from other countries.

So I also do think that the better our relationship is with China and with Russia -- but you asked about China -- the better likelihood there is that we in the United States will be able to provide the needed security for our people. So I think that relationship, as it is evolving, is very, very important in terms of building our own security and in dealing with this particular issue.

The issue of how the problem in Pakistan started goes way back, and there are different times during which either the skirmishes or disputes were started by either the Sikhs or Indians, various other Indians living in Jamu and Kashmir, or by tribesmen from Pakistan -- independent types of tribesman. The history of this, since 1947, has basically gone back and forth in terms of whose fault is what.

The problem is that Kashmir itself has one of the most beautiful places in the world, Iíve been told -- I have been trying to get there, but for one reason or another it never has worked out -- what?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Lugar says you ought to go to India and Pakistan?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: He does? Well -- just a thought. But I grew up hearing about the beauty of the Valley of Kashmir and Srinagar and the sadness of the fact that this most beautiful place has been the scene of endless fighting. But neither side is blameless in terms of the skirmishes. And what goes on in terms of the line of control and fighting back and forth I think is just very important, not only as far as the nuclear issues, as I said this morning, to cool it, but to cool it on the line of control. Itís always, I guess, nice to trace a lot of back and forth in terms of historical roots; the bottom line here is, theyíve got to stop. It is the major part of the problem.

Thank you all. See some of you on the plane.

[End of Document]

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