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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 38, June 1999

US Senate Hesitates, Then Eases Sanctions Against India, Pakistan

On 8 June, the US Senate voted to freeze the majority of sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan in the wake of their May 1998 nuclear tests. An amendment proposed by two Republican Senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, adopted as a 'Sense of Senate' resolution, specified that: "Export controls should be applied only to those entities that make direct and material contributions to weapons-of-mass-destruction and missile programs, and only to those items that can contribute to such programs..." The amendment also specified that "US banks may make loans or provide credit to the Governments of India and Pakistan."

Senator Brownback (Kansas), Chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, had tried to introduce the measure in late May, but postponed the move due to the conflict in Kashmir (see Documents and Sources). On 26 May, Brownback stated: "I was planning to offer an amendment to lift economic sanctions on India and Pakistan...in the belief...that bilateral relations between India and Pakistan had improved. Unfortunately, I was wrong... I hope to revisit this issue in the near future...[but] I will not feel comfortable doing so until there is a serious de-escalation of tension on the Subcontinent." The 8 June amendment states that defense-related exports should be suspended to India and Pakistan if either "initiates or supports activities that jeopardise peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir."

Reports: US lawmaker withdraws plan to aid India, Pakistan, Reuters, 26 May; US Senate votes to suspend India, Pak sanctions, Reuters, 10 June; Senate votes to halt India, Pakistan sanctions, Reuters, 10 June; Senate OKs India, Pakistan trade, Associated Press, 12 June.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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