13 May 1998
(All agree on sanctions and need for Pakistani restraint) (470) By Rick Marshall USIA Staff Writer Washington -- President Clinton's decision to impose economic sanctions on India in response to the nuclear tests it conducted this week met with strong approval from several key senators May 13. "I have tried to be a good friend to India," Sen. Jesse Helms, (Republican, North Carolina) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. "But as long as there is breath in me, I will never support the lifting of the Glenn amendment sanctions on India unless they abandon all nuclear ambitions." Sam Brownback, (Republican, Kansas), who chairs the Foreign Relations Near Eastern and South Asian subcommittee, remarked that "India's lack of restraint is a signal to the rogues of this world that they too can flout international opinion and international norms. I commend President Clinton for his decision to sanction India under the Arms Export Control Act. I hope that during the coming days at the G-7 meeting he will be able to prevail on our allies to follow suit." According to Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, who addressed the Committee, imposing Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act -- or Glenn Amendment -- places "stiff penalties on India, and will affect a wide cross-section of our current activities in India, including development assistance, military sales and exchanges, trade in specified dual use goods and technology, U.S. loans, guarantees, and credits to India; loans and credits by U.S. banks to the government of India; and support for India within the International Financial Institutions." The sanctions will not be easily lifted. Indeed, the Glenn Amendment does not have a mechanism to do so; new legislation would have to be drafted, according to Robert Einhorn, deputy assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. Inderfurth told the Committee that President Clinton had spoken by telephone to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who "told the President that he was under tremendous pressure to respond" to the nuclear tests. In an effort to prevent such a response, a high-level U.S. delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott was scheduled to leave for Pakistan later in the day, Inderfurth said. Any Pakistani nuclear test would trigger the same Glenn Amendment sanctions, he added. Nonetheless, Inderfurth conceded that sanctions can only work up to a point and that domestic national security considerations might outweigh them. Indeed, Inderfurth told the senators that he believed the Indian government had tested its nuclear capability for largely domestic reasons. "The BJP has arrived, and I guess it has signalled its arrival with these tests," he added, referring to the Hindu nationalist party which heads the current Indian governing coalition.