Transcript of a Panel Discussion on Arms Transfers to India and Pakistan

January 28, 2003
Washington, DC

Participants: George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Jo Husbands, U.S. National Academy of Sciences
Husain Haqqani, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Moderated by Rachel Stohl, Center for Defense Information

MS. STOHL: I think we'll go ahead and get started. I want to take the opportunity first to thank you all for coming today. My name is Rachel Stohl, I am a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information, a think tank here in Washington. And CDI, along with the Arms Transfers Working Group, is very pleased to be sponsoring this briefing today on arms transfers and military assistance to India and Pakistan.

I want to explain a little bit why we're having this event in the first place. Certainly, when you think of India and Pakistan, you don't immediately think of the risk of conventional arms sales. When you look at what's in the news, we hear a lot about the risk of nuclear war, weapons of mass destruction. But in reality, the fighting that's ongoing in India and Pakistan today is being done with conventional weapons.

And certainly, I don't mean in any way in this panel this afternoon to undermine the risks associated with a possible nuclear war on the continent. But certainly, what we want to bring our attention to is the impact of the conventional weapons trade to India and Pakistan.

Why did we choose India and Pakistan to begin what we hope is the first of several briefings of post-September 11th, 2001 changes to U.S. arms transfer policy? Well, the reason is very clear. Since September 11th, we've seen significant changes to U.S. policy with regard to the conventional weapons trade.

Prior to September 11th, both India and Pakistan were under sanctions by the United States, meaning they could not receive arms transfers. These were because of the nuclear weapons testing that happened in the late '90s, as well as the fact that the Pakistani government had come into power as the result of a military coup.

Prior to September 11th, U.S. security assistance was rather minimal. In FY '01, for example, Pakistan received only $3.5 million of security assistance and India received only $6.4 million. After September 11th, we see a dramatic increase in military assistance, once those sanctions were in fact lifted. Pakistan has so far been authorized to receive $1.3 billion in security assistance and India close to 78 million.

These are dramatic increases in the kinds of weapons and training that prior to September 11th, both of these countries were not able to receive. And I think we'll see in the context of the conversation today that this is only the beginning of renewed military ties with both of these countries.

Another thing I just wanted to mention that was in the news last week, again with this trend of renewing military ties with these two countries, as well as potential increased sales to these countries, was a report in Aerospace Daily about the possibility of Israel selling the aero-antimissile system to India. And certainly, this is a system that the United States and Israel developed jointly and would require U.S. approval to be allowed to be exported.

But surprisingly, it would seem I would say a year or two ago, we would never have thought this would even have been possible. And now we're seeing that some Bush Administration officials are actually saying this could really bolster U.S.-India relations, while others are saying this could, in fact, harm antiproliferation efforts, so it's kind of a two-sided argument there.

Furthermore, there was a report just in today's Washington Post about increased military ties between the U.S. and India with regard to the first joint exercise involving fighter aircraft. Again, the renewed ties, military ties, to this region could only lead to increased arms sales.

U.S. policy makers have defended arms sales as an important way of implementing foreign policy with these two countries and securing a closer relationship with both India and Pakistan. The key, according to this Administration, is to balance fighting the war with Al Qaeda and with the help of Pakistan, as well as building stronger relationships, militarily, politically, economically, et cetera, with India and Pakistan.

But as you will see in the context of today's panel, some of these sales could have some undesirable effects. Most noteworthy would be an arms race, unintended use, i.e., these weapons could be used against populations they weren't supposed to be used against, or harm, contribute to fighting or escalation of fighting in the region, as well as the ever present danger of blow-back; that is that we'll have these weapons used against the U.S. and its allies in the future.

So that's what we'll be hearing from our speakers today. I hope that you find today's conversation informative and perhaps it raises your attention and your interest in the conventional arms trade to a higher level.

I want to introduce our speakers briefly and let you know what they'll be speaking about. Our first speaker will be Dr. George Perkovich from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He'll be speaking on the security situation of the subcontinent, including the fragility of the military balance and the possibility of a nuclear war.

Dr. Perkovich is the vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He's the author of India's Nuclear Bomb, which has been very well received around the world. From 1990 through 2001, Dr. Perkovich was the director of the Secure World Program at the W. Alton Jones Foundation and is very well known to most of you interested in this region.

Then we'll be hearing from Dr. Jo Husbands from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and she'll be discussing the threat posed by the resumption of U.S. arms transfers to India and Pakistan. As I mentioned, Dr. Husbands is the director of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control at NAS and is also an adjunct professor in the National Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

And third, we'll be hearing from Husain Haqqani, also from the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, he's a visiting scholar there. Mr. Haqqani will be speaking on the South Asian perspective of arms transfers to the region and the possible negative effects of U.S. military aid on democratization and human rights efforts in the region.

Mr. Haqqani is a leading journalist, diplomat and former advisor to several Pakistani prime ministers. He is a syndicated columnist for the Indian Express and The Nation and he also serves as the chairman of Communications Research Strategies, which is a Pakistani consulting company.

So I think you can see we have three renowned experts on these issues and I welcome their comments. After they each present their perspectives, we will open the floor to question and answer, so I thank you for your indulgence in waiting until that period to ask your questions. So we'll start with Dr. George Perkovich.

DR. PERKOVICH: Thank you and thank all of you for coming out on the -- this isn't the eve of the State of the Union, but there's a big, dramatic event tonight.

What I thought I would do and try to avoid anticipating what Jo and Husain are going to say, that I would try to set the stage a little bit for U.S. policy makers or try to describe considerations that the U.S. ought to have in looking at India and Pakistan, possible arms sales to either or both of them.

My sense is that there are a number of security challenges in South Asia and though the U.S. government, in particular, focuses on the challenge of a crisis probably emanating from Kashmir, escalating potentially to war, I think that scenario is very important and ought to be the focus. But there are two others that worry me and that I'll put on the table and just kind of leave there for you to look at a little bit, but I'm not going to come back and kind of display them.

The first is I think there's a real security and humanitarian risk in Pakistan, that the internal condition of Pakistan, to me, is as frightening as any situation in the world. And I could make an argument later that the issues around Pakistan's future are more important than Iraq in many ways. So with that provocation, I'll leave it. And that's being utterly ignored by the U.S. government and I'm talking about the two relevant branches of U.S. government.

The second relatively ignored, but I think portentous issue that I'm just going to leave there is the whole issue of India's identity and the possible abandonment of secularism in India and a transition to a much more communal identity in India that's Hindu nationalism, with implications that would have, obviously, for the Muslim majority -- minority in India, but then necessarily, in Pakistan, too. And so these are issues that I think are extremely important and that are being ignored.

So let me then focus on what is being paid some attention to and that is the Indo-Pak dynamic and its potential for conflict. And there, of course, the concern, the trader that people look at is Kashmir.

And all I would say about that without immediately getting kind of mired in the detail of Kashmir is that fundamentally, Pakistan does not accept the status quo in Kashmir. And there are people within Pakistan who feel that vehemently. The Pakistan state does not disagree with that kind of vehement nonapproval of the status quo. And then, of course, there are people within Kashmir itself who don't accept that status quo. That's a combustible dynamic of people who are not satisfied with the status quo.

And that leads to things like attacks on parliament in India, to killing, to things being blown up, to conflict in other words.

In order to get Pakistan to accept the status quo, a number of things would have to happen, but one of them is that, as Pakistan itself has said, is that India is going to have to take some steps to satisfy Pakistan and the Kashmiris that a status quo or a new created status quo would provide for the interests of people in Kashmir and also at least some Pakistani state interest.

Now there are many obstacles to that, there are many obstacles to even creating a dialogue to move in that direction. And among them are that in Pakistan, the army is the most powerful institution in the state and the army's raison d'etre is, in part, conflict with India and to protect the identity of Kashmiris and to continue the struggle for Kashmir.

So if that is your identity as an institution, the most powerful institution in the state has its identity wrapped around conflict, it's hard to then get into a process where that institution abandons that obsession, because that institution starts wondering how it maintains its position, its dominant position in the state, if you take away this conflict that in many ways justifies it.

Moreover, since Pakistan is cooperating or this government of Pakistan is cooperating with the U.S. in the war against Al Qaeda, it creates a political dynamic that makes it harder for this government to make overt concessions on Kashmir. It gave away the store of the Americans into the west and Afghanistan; at least preserve our integrity and identity on Kashmir. The recent elections there have made this dynamic tougher. So in many ways, you could say Pakistan needs some formula, some Arabic cover at a minimum, in order to adjust its policies and attitudes towards Kashmir.

So then you look at India and you say, well, there are many reasons why India is not going to give Pakistan that kind of cover, that kind of basis for altering its policy on Kashmir. For one thing, India or Indian officials believe that Kashmir is a purely internal Indian issue, that this is an issue for India to decide within the framework of the Indian constitution, and that Pakistan has no standing on this issue, Pakistan is an irrelevant interloper, and India will solve this problem on its own, without Pakistan.

Here, too, elections, recent elections, and so for those of us, probably all of us who advocate democracy, you know, be careful what you wish for. The elections in India recently, in Kashmir, which were by all accounts the fairest and freest elections in recent time, created a government that disposed the existing government and proved that the Indian Central government would be willing to allow change in Kashmir and then to give Kashmiris, including disaffected Kashmiris, a greater say in their own government.

So that India looks to the outside world and says, "Look, we're the democrats here, we're not this military dictatorship like Pakistan. We've allowed these elections, we've allowed the Kashmiris to have voice, we've allowed a government that doesn't like us in the center to take power in Kashmir. We will solve this problem internally, so leave us alone, let us solve it on our own. And don't try to force us into diplomacy with Pakistan, we'll take care of it ourselves."

That tends to be the position and you look at them and you say, all right, this is inherently unstable, because what it does is it creates an incentive in Pakistan or for elements in Pakistan to say, "We have to demonstrate to India that they can't solve this problem internally. They say, 'Leave us alone, we'll take care of it.' We have to disprove that."

And one of the ways you disprove that is you kill people, you have things blow up, you turn up the heat and show either the Indian people or outsiders like the Americans, "Look, this problem's not going to go away, it's not going to be stable, as it can't be solved without dialogue with Pakistan." So there's a structural problem that again goes back to Pakistan's nonacceptance of the status quo, India's reluctance to deal with Pakistan on those terms. It breeds incentives for conflict.

And it's from that kind of conflict that you get to scenarios that escalate to major war and possibly nuclear war. And we, I say "we," the world, the United States, India, Pakistan, went through this kind of crisis episode last year, right around this time, and then it ramped up through the spring.

And the question becomes will this be a chronic problem, that when the snows melt in the Himalayas and people can start moving around there, will there be more incidents of large scale violence in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir that will get us back into this kind of military crisis and if that happens, can it escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. And there, you get competing arguments.

Many would say, well, deterrence will work, it has worked and it will work, it will work. My problem with that is that there isn't any evidence, really, that India and Pakistan both have accepted mutual deterrence yet. They each believe that the other should be deterred, so they each feel that they have a deterrent and that the other guy should be deterred, but they also each feel that they themselves shouldn't be deterred.

So India celebrates that it acquired the bomb, "Now the Pakistanis won't mess with us any more, we solved this problem." Then came the Cargill war that disproved that. Pakistan feels, "The Indians now can't afford to fight with us, they're deterred," so you don't back down and you still support low-intensity conflict.

Now lest this seem crazy, and there's a tendency in our press and in some of our political leaders to say, "These people just don't understand," "They can't manage nuclear weapons," and everything else, we should realize that no state wants to be deterred. The deterrence that we came to say was normal during the cold war actually came after every alternative was tried.

So if you look at the '50s and the '60s and what the U.S. and the Soviet Union did, each was trying to escape from deterrence, each was trying to develop a new weapon that would somehow enable it to use nuclear weapons and keep from being deterred by the other guy. That's what the arms race was about. And it was only in 1971 with the ABM Treaty when both sides basically said, "We're now accepting mutual deterrence, we now accept that we can't escape the reality that the other guy can hit us with nuclear weapons and therefore, that we both have to avoid war." And that treaty enshrined the idea of mutual deterrence.

Now to prove that that acceptance of mutual deterrence is not a natural act for states, you can look at U.S. strategy in the last year and understand that it is a leaving of mutual deterrence and we're going from that position to a new position that says, "We will deter everybody on the planet and no one will deter us." And that is a natural position for states to acquire and so you see it in our offensive nuclear strategy and you see it in our ballistic missile defense program. This is the U.S. escaping the bounds of deterrence.

Now it's all for the good. I mean we're not aggressive, we're not going to attack other people, this is a rational thing to do. Why would you not want to have a situation where you could deter everybody and nobody can deter you? The point is that we shouldn't expect India and Pakistan to think differently, at least until they've had more opportunity to wrestle with these dilemmas.

So as long as they don't accept mutual deterrence, they don't accept that they cannot have a war, we have this chronic proclivity to crisis and we may experience a crisis again this year.

What are the implications for the U.S.? Well, first of all, we have to have more attentive diplomacy. The Bush Administration did a terrific job last year in managing this crisis. Question, given what's happening in Iraq and North Korea, will the Administration be able to focus as much this coming year on India and Pakistan if the crisis comes ahead?

Remember that the last time, it involved the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of State on a nearly constant basis getting on planes, working this problem. Are they going to be able to do that, given everything else that's come onto their plate since then?

In terms of substance, I think one could argue that the U.S. needs to start forwarding basic principles, the outline of parameters for a Kashmir solution, or at least to say that there are certain realities that the world recognizes and that India and Pakistan have to recognize.

And the Policy Planning Director, Richard Haas, at State did this recently in a speech and I think it moves in the right direction. He said the existing line of control that separates India and Pakistan and Kashmir today will not be changed unilaterally and it will not be changed by violence; thirdly, until it's changed by negotiation and mutual agreement, both sides should respect the sanctity of that line of control.

And I think that is the proper and the useful position for all branches of the U.S. government to take on this issue, "We're not telling you, India and Pakistan, how to solve this problem, we're not intervening, we're not mediating. We're just looking at the reality of the situation and describing the certain features of that reality that we think are immutable, they're not going to be changed," and to put that on the agenda.

The second question, and it's the one that brings you all here today and that I'm not going to elaborate on because I don't want to take away from what Jo and Husain are going to say, the question of arms sales.

All I would say there is that as long as you have a state that is not a status quo power, that doesn't accept the status quo, if you sell that state offensive weapons, you should expect that that state is going to use those weapons to change the status quo. In this case, that's Pakistan.

And there is a history that I won't recount here of U.S. arms sales to Pakistan and Pakistan says, "Don't worry, we're using these to contain Chinese communism," or, "We're using these just to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan," and it ends up being, lo and behold, these weapons end up being used in a war against India.

So the problem, it seems to me, that needs to be contemplated in thinking about arms sales is, yes, if you are using arms sales to solidify and reinsure a defensive balance where both sides have accepted a status quo and have a durable basis for peace and both need the reassurance of defensive weapons to make sure that the other can't attack them, that's one thing.

But if you're in a situation where a state hasn't accepted the status quo, selling them offensive weapons is a recipe for war, in my opinion. We can elaborate on that later.

Last point is the question that was just raised about ballistic missile defense and we can talk about it in the Q and A. And the question right now is selling ballistic missile defense to India, primarily, which the Administration seems inclined to do.

I will just say that every or nearly every specialist I know who works on security in South Asia, Republican, Democrat, Hawk, non-Hawk, chicken hawks -- well, not chicken hawks -- thinks this is a really bad idea, that selling ballistic missile defenses is a recipe for an arms race or for an intensifying arms race in the subcontinent, precisely because of the point I made earlier, they haven't accepted the mutuality of the deterrence.

And so if you add in this defensive capability, all it does is increase Pakistan's offensive requirement and therefore, it's not a stabilizing thing. If both India and Pakistan were status quo powers that had come to a modus vivendi, where they're each trying to maintain their defense, missile defenses would be a totally different. They're not there and so missile defenses are just seen as another offensive weapon in this equation. I know this is debatable, but I'll leave it there and open it to questions when we come back.

MS. STOHL: I hope you're right on that last point. Next, we'll hear from Dr. Jo Husbands.

DR. HUSBANDS: Thank you, Rachel. I want to thank this panel for having the opportunity to talk about this subject. I also at this time need to make the standard disclaimer that these are my view and not those that in any way represent positions of the National Academy of Sciences.

What I want to begin with is just a very quick overview of the current situation. And Rachel has already alluded to much of this. And one is how much the resumption of arms transfers and military assistance to India and Pakistan is an obvious reaction and reflection of 9/11; that in this situation, the Bush Administration, as other administrations well might have, has turned to an old or what they perceive as an old and reliable instrument of American foreign policy to support an active response to a threat to the United States.

I would note that the original request was for a waiver for five years of all restrictions on all arms transfers everywhere. What they settled for was a lifting of restrictions on India and Pakistan and some gradual other enabling of transfers to Central Asian countries.

I want to sound what is for me a slightly optimistic note in that if you look at the record, so far, this is really more talk than action, that is that you've had more consultations about what might be provided than any major agreements for arms transfers.

There were only four congressionally mandated notifications in 2002, Calendar Year 2002, of sales to India and Pakistan, two to India, two to Pakistan, they were relatively low level equipment. And although you've seen significant increases in security assistance, again, they're still in the hard core security assistance programs, they're still relatively minor.

And I would say that to me, that argues that panels like this, discussions like this are extremely important and timely, because I at least would argue that the question of the potential risks of major arms transfers relations with India and Pakistan deserve a great deal more debate and consideration than they have yet received. And certainly, it is a place where, since we're on Capitol Hill, there's a major congressional interest and role in any future progress.

We can talk about specific numbers and specific programs, I brought all my data. But what I'd really like to do in the time available is to talk about what I think are some of the key issues that make arms transfers relationships to this region something worth real debate and discussion.

And the first one is simply the thuddingly obvious point that we are, as George has demonstrated, now engaged in arming both sides of a situation where there have been major conflicts in the past and major recent crises that threatened serious violence and conflict. And that's a situation of which we should be very much aware and very sensitive.

Now the U.S. arms both sides in a lot -- not a lot, but in a good number of places. But I would at least venture, though I wouldn't want to be pushed too hard on this, that at least in regions like the Middle East --

(End Tape Side A.)

DR. HUSBANDS: -- we have, over the years, developed an experience and a set of relationships that are reasonably well understood and which we watch closely. In contrast, in South Asia, we have a pattern of fits and starts, of engaging in security assistance relations, withdrawing from those relations; of, as George mentioned, intermittent attention to the region and the potential for conflict there.

So that for a number of reasons, we are not necessarily giving the attention that is due to the risks that transfers may pose, while at the same time, we may be absolutely certain that India and Pakistan are watching, that they are paying close, intense attention to what is India receiving, what is Pakistan receiving, what do those imply, if anything, about the state of our relative relation, and that that is, I would argue, a potential for real concern.

I would also note, second point, that frankly, arms transfers are deeply and not necessarily very happily linked to issues of nuclear nonproliferation, particularly vis-a-vis Pakistan, so that the resumption of the sales and military assistance relationship was widely interpreted as another sign that the United States had now accepted Indian and Pakistani nuclear status. And part of that is linked to history and going back to the mid-'70s, when Kissinger offered advance fighter aircraft to Pakistan as a kind of quid pro quo for at least holding back, if not foregoing completely, pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, what Louis Dunn coined as the Dove's dilemma.

And so you had the offer in the mid-'70s. You then had the Carter Administration withdraw that offer of those aircraft. You then had the Reagan Administration in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan restore the offer of those airplanes, only to have the Bush Administration cut off at F-16 sale in 1990. And only in 1998 did Pakistan actually receive some compensation, some return of the money that they had put out to pay for these F-16s.

So what you had over time is a pattern in which these airplanes have become completely symbolic of our attitude toward nuclear nonproliferation. We've been using them as a carrot, but they've also taken on a symbolic life of their own, such that these kinds of sales really do become probably far more important than any conventional military sense, a way of tracking what our stance is on key issues.

I would also note, by the way, that those aircraft, perhaps not completely wisely, were dual capable. That is capable of delivering nuclear, as well as conventional weapons properly equipped, which was not perhaps a symbolism that we necessarily intended when we began.

Three more quick points. One is simply that there will be very serious technology transfer questions raised if, in fact, any serious supply relationship develops with India and Pakistan. In the Pakistani case, it's clearly to do with missile technology relationships that the Pakistanis have with North Korea, for example. There will be nuclear nonproliferation considerations raised ala the Seymour Hirsch article in the New Yorker last week.

India's record on nonproliferation is very good and very strong, but I would also note that they have a significant arms supply relationship with Russia and have now just, at least according to the front page of Defense News, signed a strategic accord with Iran. So that there are going to be major considerations raised about what kinds of equipment, what kinds of technology we're going to be willing to supply to India and you already hear from the Indians that they're not happy, they're not satisfied with what they're being offered, so here's an irritant already in terms of expectations.

And that's my next point, which is that it is very hard for me to see how we're going to avoid disappointing both countries somehow in this relationship, that we're simply not going to, I would hope, but I am also convinced, we're not going to provide the kinds of hardware and equipment that they might genuinely hope for or that might have a significant impact on the military balance at the same time that we will be in relationships and seeing debates over various kinds of equipment, some of it, certainly in the Indian case, with a desire for very advanced hardware, significant co-production and tech. transfer arrangements.

And finally, and I hope this is a segue to my colleague, as Rachel began, I simply want to say again that these are nations at what seems to be perpetual -- not quite perpetual, but close to perpetual risk of conflict and nations that are engaged day to day in low, grinding, miserable civil violence, so that -- and it is conventional weapons that are killing people day to day and we need to be aware of that.

We have time, I would hope, in the questions to talk a little bit about what the military assistance relationship, training relationships, others that we will develop could mean for engagement and involvement in some of these issues, as well as simply what classic arms transfers might mean.

So with that, let me just conclude by saying that I retain some optimism that these are still rather early times in these new relationships and that it is far from too late to see significant debate and oversight and thought about what it is we're doing.

MR. HAQQANI: Thank you very much. I'm going to just try and start by talking about the roots of the India-Pakistan conflict to put things in perspective, because I think George and Dr. Husbands have made many valid points.

You must remember that the roots of the India-Pakistan conflict run very deep, they date back to the partition of British ruled India in 1947 and basically feed on two contradictory ideas about statehood.

In the case of Pakistan, Islam, which is the common religion, provides the glue. India, on the other hand, has opted for state building on the basis of secular nationalism and pluralism. And so the argument that actually led to the creation of Pakistan and the partition of British India has spilled over into the conduct of the two successor states.

So India and Pakistan should be seen like partners in a bitter divorce. I can see a few smiles around the room because obviously, everybody either knows people who have gone through those or has gone through one themselves. And like many divorces, the issue is often very deep, psychological and not really the issuers that are stated. And of course, there is a custody battle as well, which is the custody battle over Kashmir, and so these are arguments that can go on forever.

For Pakistan, giving up Kashmir means denying the ideological basis of the partition and of the people of one religion coming to one state and the majority of the others belonging to the other. For India, conceding Kashmir amounts to reaffirming an ideology, religion-based nationalism, which Indian leaders had not accepted, even when they recognized its results in the form of Pakistan's independence.

So basically, both sides feel threatened at a much deeper level by each other. India feels that it will always face some kind of unconventional war from Pakistan aimed at India's division, because after all, Pakistan was the result of what they see as the partition of Unified India. So Pakistan's primary objective is to keep on partitioning India is the way the hard-liners in India would look at Pakistan's policy.

Pakistan, on the other hand, lives in the fear of being erased from the world map and, "Erased from the world map," is the phrase India's defense minister used only two days ago to describe what India would do to Pakistan in case there is a war. So in fact, I mean I said the other day somewhere that if rhetoric had the same effect as nuclear weapons, then Pakistan and India probably would have destroyed each other several times over by now in the five decades that they have been on the world map.

Now I was asked to focus on the impact on democratization and human rights and let me say that the conflict between India and Pakistan and then the weapons that feed that conflict and enhance that conflict have tremendous bearing on democratization and human rights in the entire region.

Pakistan maintains a huge standing army of half a million people at the expense of social and economic development, primarily to compete with India. Pakistan has no other regional dispute, Pakistan has no other regional competitor or enemy.

So while the great majority of Pakistanis, 140 million, live in abject poverty -- Pakistan has a very low per capita income, Pakistan's economic growth has stalled for the last two or three years in particular -- Pakistan has been diverting scarce resources towards building and maintaining nuclear weapons which it tested soon after India's tests in 1998. Its missile program is also ensured at maintaining some kind of military balance with India.

Now the consequence of this competition with India has been that Pakistan's military has emerged stronger than any other national institution, something that George alluded to. The military has ruled directly for more than half the country's postindependence existence and exerts tremendous influence over all spheres of national policy.

On the other hand, India, is facing a similar process in a very different direction. What is happening in India is the rise of Hindu chauvinism, manifested in the electoral success of a people who describe themselves as Hindu nationalists, which basically means a deviation from the original idea of a secular India nationalism.

The Hindu nationalists have encouraged and supported violence against India's religious minorities, especially Muslims, and the pogrom in Gujarat, the southwestern Indian state, where the BJP, the ruling party, has emerged victorious on a purely communal agenda recently, leading to Indian newspapers themselves describing the regional leader of the BJP as the master divider, basically means that there's a process of religious polarization taking place in South Asia, which is very similar to the same process that took place in the 1940s and therefore resulted in the process of partition. So that process has actually adopted a new accelerated dynamic.

Before 9/11 -- Pakistan has, of course, tended toward Islamist in its own domestic politics, so what we are seeing is that the Islamists will be defining Pakistan's national and the Hindu, or Hindutwa as they call him, the Hindutwa ideologues will define India's national, which basically means that these two nations are not going to be able to resolve the prospects of dialogue and peace will recede, rather than improve, with this dynamic in place.

Before 9/11, the U.S. had started to see that the military's pervasiveness in Pakistan was a problem, but it did not see the right of Hindu nationalism as an equal threat. Because at that time, the assumption was that the Hindu nationalists, because they were coming out of an old cold war mind-set in which the Indian leadership had been closer to the Soviet Union than to the United States. At that time, the U.S. leadership tended to ignore the BJP's Hindu nationalist or Hindu chauvinist agenda and thought of them as people who were building a new relationship between the United States and India.

Now after 9/11, another dynamic has set in and that is the U.S. looking at Pakistan as an ally because of the war in Afghanistan. So the consequence of that is that democratic reform has fallen off the agenda and thereby undermining any prospect of a right of some political movement of forces within Pakistan that would give priority to making peace with India. With the military in charge, that would be less likely than it would be under a democratic civilian regime.

Now one of the most important things that I feel we should be talking about is the need for a sustained peace process in South Asia, which has never taken place since 1947. There have been half-hearted attempts, temporary attempts at baby-sitting, you know, in case of a conflict, shuttle diplomacy to try and postpone it, but no sustained attempt at trying to make both countries see each other in a different light than the one of the divorce analogy that I used to try and persuade both sides to live and let live and recognize that they can actually coexist and should attempt to.

Given the Pakistani army's prior disposition to intervene in politics, there has been a tendency not to look at what options exist for trying to find an accommodation with India. On the other hand, India's own obsessively anti-Pakistan and rising anti-Muslim interest groups appear to validate the arguments of the more aggressive element in Pakistan. So we have extremisms feeding off of each other, which does not necessarily create a very conducive environment for either democracy or for human rights in either country.

And also at the same time, of course, the impact that it has on the lack of economic development in both countries. Poverty continues to rise as more and more resources are poured into the acquisition of better and better weapons.

On the question of initial arms purchases, let me just try and say something that I think has not yet been focused on. Of course, this panel is about American arms transfers, but we have to look at the acquisition of weapons by both sides in a global perspective because right now for Pakistan, the U.S. is an important supplier.

India's major suppliers are several and India, after having some kind of a cap on its defense spending. In the last few years has gone on a weapons purchasing spree. Its defense budget has gone up to $13.9 billion. Its own Defense Research and Development Organization is engaged in indigenous development of weapons and systems. It has weapons transfers deals which have either been concluded in the last two years or are in the process of negotiation with several countries.

It's got Mirage 2000 jets and Scorpion submarines from France, SU30 jets, 310 T90 tanks, Akula class submarines and TU22 M3 long-range aircraft capable of dropping nuclear weapons from Russia. It has acquired aircraft radar from Britain, spying Hawk jets equal to about a billion pounds from the United Kingdom, from Britain. It has negotiations or transfers pending from Israel, including cutting edge technology, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, the Arrow weapons system that we were talking about, AWACS.

And its wish list with Israel and with the other suppliers, including France and Russia, is pretty extensive. It includes advanced jet trainers, multi-barreled rocket launchers, a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier, high-tech radar and civilian systems, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And India's suppliers include Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Pakistan is constrained in its ability to match India's arsenal by economic limitations. Pakistan's economy is smaller, Pakistan's ability to find the resources to go a similar weapons acquisition spree is not easy. And this inability to compete is making Pakistan rely more and more on its nuclear weapons capability and on the potential of unconventional and asymmetric methods of war.

So that in a way, although India's argument for acquiring more conventional weapons technology is that it needs it because of the infiltrators, et cetera, that Pakistan is alleged to be sending into India, the fact of the matter is that these acquisitions of conventional warfare are actually increasing Pakistan's need to pursue that option vis-a-vis India because Pakistan cannot match India in terms of conventional weapons capability. In the absence of a peace process, then Pakistan has to think of ways of competing or maintaining balance and there is a military imbalance that is enormous.

So what has Pakistan been able to shop for? It has managed to get some aircraft and antiship missiles and fire controlled radar from China, two Agosta submarines and 40 upgraded Mirage 3 and 5 combat aircraft from France, an unknown number of battle tanks from the Ukraine. And from the U.S., it's getting seven aircraft, riot control gear, Blackhawk helicopters, six in number, and that is basically what it's getting from the United States. So Pakistan's suppliers are China, France, Indonesia, Lebanon, Sweden, Ukraine.

From the Pakistani perspective, whenever we talk about treating both India and Pakistan apart, an argument that is made by the Pakistani authority is, "All attempts at treating us equally are essentially favorable to India because the quantum that India gets from the United States in percentage terms of its total weapons acquisition is much less as a percentage of the total than it is for Pakistan."

So U.S. policy has to be shaped very carefully. You do not want to create a situation in which Pakistan is rendered totally -- that Pakistan's military capability is rendered totally ineffective and ineffective to the point where Pakistan just shrugs its shoulders, even in the war against terrorism, and turns around and says very simply, "We just do not have the capability to assist U.S. forces on the border with Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the fact remains that all weapons transfers to South Asia without a sustained peace process in the region are likely only to enhance the conflict and drive it further, a conflict that so far does not seem to be moving in any direction of resolution.

There's also another pattern that I would like to share with you all and that does not have directly to do with U.S. weapons transfers, but it has to do with weapons transfers from other sources. Pakistan purchased battle tanks from the Ukraine soon after India purchased T90 tanks from Russia. So basically, every time one side gets a particular weapons system, the other side feels inclined towards going for a similar or a competitive weapons system.

When France sold their Agosta submarines, the Indians decided to go for the French Scorpion submarine. And that is in effect, anything that the United States decides to provide India is likely to cause Pakistan concern and will make Pakistan want to shop for something similar or comparable.

And anything that is provided to Pakistan that is of an offensive nature -- so far, nothing on the shopping list is in that category -- the anti-riot gear is more likely to be used against people, myself, demonstrating for democracy than is likely to be used in a conflict with India, so it's not really enhancing Pakistan's military capability in that sense.

But I think that this balance has to be that -- the imbalance is now at an enormous level and therefore, what has to be done is to try and reduce the drive for acquisition of more and more weapons systems. And to that extent, U.S. policy should focus on a sustained peace process, rather than putting more weapons in the hands of these very, very, very bitter divorcees.

(End Tape Side B.)