20 May 1998
(SecState Albright commencement speech May 20) (370) By Jane A. Morse USIA Diplomatic Correspondent New London, Connecticut -- "Now, more than ever" India and Pakistan should sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, says Secretary of State Albright. In a commencement address delivered at the US Coast Guard Academy May 20, Albright reiterated the US call for both India and Pakistan to sign that international agreement banning the testing of nuclear devices. India last week exploded five nuclear devices and Pakistan is considering whether or not to match India's show of nuclear might by testing nuclear devices of its own. But Albright condemned India's flexing of its nuclear muscle, saying that India's choice "does not reflect that nation's greatness, but rather a reckless disregard for world opinion and for India's own reputation. "The leaders in New Delhi have made a grave historical error," the Secretary of State said. She predicted that "India's rash action is sure to heighten security tensions throughout southern Asia. And other nations may be tempted to follow India's wrongheaded example." Pakistan's government, she conceded, is facing "a difficult and defining challenge." But she added that this challenge also provides "an unprecedented opportunity. "For if Pakistan's leaders do not test, they will defy India's expectations and foil India's desire to drag Pakistan's world standing down." An arms race between India and Pakistan, the Secretary warned, would have "no visible finish line," noting that the two countries have fought three wars in the last 51 years and remain bitterly divided over Kashmir and other issues. International sanctions will "cost India dearly," Albright warned, adding that sanctions would make Pakistan suffer as well if the Pakistan government chooses to test nuclear devices. The Clinton administration will work hard with the US Congress to respond to Pakistan's economic and security concerns, Albright said. Restraint on the part of Pakistan, she said, "will show a level of maturity and responsibility India's current leaders have not." By declining to match India in nuclear testing, Pakistan's leadership "will earn precisely the kind of international respect that India apparently years for, and its people deserve, but which its leaders have so heedlessly thrown away," Albright said.