News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Presenter: Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

USIA Foreign Press Center


QThe last time we spoke about was India and Pakistan nuclear program, at the Pentagon. Now the situation has changed of course: elections in India, the largest democracy in the world; and next door Pakistan again, democracy was killed by a military ruler.

Number one, how do you view the U.S. and Pakistan relations, military to military, today? And also if the Pentagon favors -- administration's willing -- waiver -- military waiver -- some of the military sales to the dictator in Pakistan?

And what do you think, the future?

MR. BACON: Okay.

First of all, we have made it very clear to the Musharraf government in Pakistan that we support a quick return to democracy. And I think that every statement that's been made by President Clinton and everybody else in the government has stressed that.

Second, we have almost no military-to-military relationship with Pakistan. And we have not had much of a relationship since 1990 because of the terms of the Pressler amendment.

The Pressler amendment required us to cut back on military-to-military relationships unless the president, then-President Bush, could certify that Pakistan was not working on nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, both India and Pakistan were working on nuclear weapons.

But as a result of the Pressler amendment, we cut back dramatically on our military-to-military relationship. So we have almost no military-to-military relationship with Pakistan now. In fact, I don't believe there are any programs, exchanges or -- official sales under way at this time, and I don't think there have been for some time.

QJust a quick one to follow.

MR.: (Inaudible) -- the microphone.

MR. BACON: Where is the microphone?

MS. RANSOM: No, the microphone is way over here.

Q (Inaudible.)

QSome unknown official in the State Department suggested that President Clinton who has powers now -- (inaudible) -- given by this Congress; in return to democracy or civilian rule in Pakistan, U.S. should sell some of the arms to the dictator -- I mean, in return, in exchange for civilian rule, which I think he may try under the -- (inaudible) -- that he will be ruler but he may bring some of the civilians in the government?

MR. BACON: Well -- because this State Department official is unnamed -- I of course don't know who it is -- (laughter) -- or exactly what he said -- and I think it would be better not to comment on it.

But I am not aware of any movement right now to resume arms sales to Pakistan.