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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 26, May 1998

Claims and Controversy over India, Pakistan Missile Programmes

The weeks leading up to the nuclear weapons tests by India and Pakistan saw controversy and allegations concerning both States' missile programmes. In a move announced on 4 May, the US imposed sanctions on the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Kahuta in response to a test-flight of the Ghauri ballistic missile (see last issue). The sanctions were widely regarded as symbolic, in the absence of any direct links between the US and the KRL. They were, nonetheless, reacted to with disappointment by Pakistan.

According to Foreign Minister Goyar Ayub Khan, speaking on Reuters television on 6 May: "The Americans have injected another irritant [into our relationship]... Why shouldn't we talk on something positive, like trade, better relations, something positive and better for the future. These small intricacies and irritants, why are we getting bogged down?" On 27 April, the New York Times reported that Russia had been heavily assisting since 1994 in the development of a sea-launched ballistic missile called the Sagarika. Both States quickly denied the suggestion. On 27 April, Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson S. Ghosh told the Associated Press: "India does not have any project like this." On 28 April, Yevgeny Ananyev, Director General of Rosvooruzheniye, Russia's State arms trading agency, told Interfax: "Such work is not being done." American comment, however, was noncommittal. According to White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (27 April), "we have made no determination at this point that any cooperation that we've detected is a violation" of the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Reports: Russia aids India on missile, United Press International, 27 April; Did Russia help India make missile?, Associated Press, 27 April; US, Russian talk about missiles, Associated Press, 27 April; Russia denies India missile help, Associated Press, 28 April; Pakistan ignores US sanctions following test of Ghauri missile, Itar-Tass, 5 May; Pakistan says US sanctions harming relations, Reuters, 6 May.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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