Office of the Press Secretary
Saturday, May 16, 1998 


     THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week I want to speak to you about a
matter of grave concern to the United States and the international
community: India's nuclear test explosions. These tests were unjustified and
threaten to spark a dangerous nuclear arms race in Asia. As a result, and in
accordance with our laws, I have imposed serious sanctions against India,
including an end to our economic assistance, military financing, and credit
or loan guarantees. 

     I'm at the G-8 summit of the major industrial powers in Birmingham,
England, where the major nations here, along with friends and allies around
the world, have joined us in condemning India's actions. 

     This is especially disappointing to me because I have long supported
stronger ties between the United States and India. After all, India will
soon be the world's most populous country. Already it has the world's
largest middle class and 50 years of vibrant democracy to its credit. And
America has been immeasurably enriched by the contributions of Indian
Americans who work hard, believe in education, and have really been good

     For all these reasons the United States and India should be close
friends and partners for the 21st century. And they make it all the more
unfortunate that India has pursued this course when a time when most nations
are working hard to leave the terror of the nuclear age behind. So in this
instance India is on the wrong side of history. 

     Over the past few years we've made remarkable progress in reducing
nuclear arsenals around the world and combating the spread of nuclear
weapons. Building on the work of the Reagan and Bush administrations, we
entered that START I treaty into force, lowering both Russian and American
nuclear arsenals. And we ratified START II to go further. Now, when Russia's
parliament approves START II, we'll be on course to cut American and Russian
nuclear arsenals by two-thirds from their Cold War height. 

     We also work with Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to return to Russia
the nuclear weapons left on their land when the Soviet Union broke apart. We
extended indefinitely and unconditionally the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, which makes it harder for states that do not now possess nuclear
weapons to acquire them. And just last month, working with the United
Kingdom and the Republic of Georgia, we helped to secure a small amount of
bomb-grade uranium in the Republic of Georgia that could have posed a
serious danger if it had fallen into the wrong hands. 

     Two years ago I was proud to be the first national leader to sign the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, first proposed by President Eisenhower,
advanced by President Kennedy, and brought to conclusion by my
administration working with almost 60 other nations. This treaty, called the
CTBT, bans all nuclear explosions, thus making it more difficult for the
nuclear states to produce more advanced and dangerous weapons and much
harder for non-nuclear states to develop them in the first place. Already,
149 other nations have signed on. 

     The CTBT also strengthens our ability to detect and deter nuclear
testing by other countries. That's a mission we must pursue, with or without
this treaty, as India's actions so clearly remind us. The CTBT's global
network of sensors and the short-notice on-site inspections it allows will
improve our ability to monitor and discourage countries from cheating. 

     I submitted the treaty to the Senate last fall. Now it's all the more
important that the Senate act quickly, this year, so that we can increase
the pressure on, and isolation of, other nations that may be considering
their own nuclear test explosions. 

     The Indian government has put itself at odds with the international
community over these nuclear tests. I hope India will reverse course from
the dangerous path it has chosen by signing the CTBT immediately and without
conditions. And India's neighbors can set a strong example of responsibility
for the world by not yielding to the pressure to follow India's example and
conduct their own nuclear tests. I hope they won't do that. 

     We have an opportunity to leave behind the darkest moments of the 20th
century and embrace the most brilliant possibilities of the 21st. To do it
we must walk away from nuclear weapons, not toward them.