Remarks that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made in June were not intended to suggest that the Bush administration had shifted away from the Clinton administration's goal of seeking nuclear disarmament in South Asia, the Pentagon has clarified. (See ACT, July/August 2001.)
In a July 12 response to written questions, a Pentagon spokesman said that, despite Rumsfeld's comments that India and Pakistan should be encouraged to "live with nuclear weapons and not use them," nuclear disarmament in South Asia remains "long-term" goal of the United States.
The spokesman characterized Rumsfeld's statement as "simply a reiteration of the reality that India and Pakistan have tested nuclear devices." The spokesman said the remark did not signal a change in Washington's "goal of seeking universal adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."
The 1970 treaty recognizes only China, France, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom as nuclear-weapon states. For India and Pakistan to join, they would have to destroy their nuclear arsenals and open their nuclear programs to international monitoring.
The Pentagon's clarification said that, until it can achieve nuclear disarmament in South Asia, Washington will urge India and Pakistan to implement "concrete steps to restrain their nuclear and missile programs and prevent a costly and destabilizing arms race." These steps include refraining from further nuclear tests and the production of fissile material, restraining nuclear-capable ballistic-missile development, and resuming the Indo-Pakistani security dialogue.
Notably, these measures do not include urging New Delhi or Islamabad to adhere to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a Clinton administration objective. The Bush administration does not support the treaty, which bans nuclear testing and which was rejected by the Senate in October 1999.