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South Asia Nuclear Crisis

President Clinton's Visit to South Asia

Visit by President Clinton to Bangladesh, India & Pakistan, March 20-25, 2000

Article by President Clinton

'Goals of the Journey to Asia,' by President Clinton, The Washington Times, March 21

"In my meetings with Pakistani leaders, as well as with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other Indian leaders, I will address directly our serious concerns.

The 1998 nuclear tests by India and then Pakistan shook the world, intensifying global worries about the spread and potential use of nuclear weapons. Only India and Pakistan can decide how to protect their security. As they do, I hope they will ask themselves: Are they safer today than before they tested nuclear weapons? Will they benefit from expanding their nuclear and missile capabilities, if that spurs their neighbors to do the same? Can they achieve their goals for economic development while making a sustained investment in both nuclear and conventional military forces? Will they be better off at the end of what could be a long, unpredictable and expensive journey?

I am determined that the United States ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, because it will strengthen our national security. India and Pakistan should sign the Treaty, as they have committed to do, for the same reason. As the United States and Russia move toward deeper cuts in our nuclear arsenals, South Asia should not be headed in the opposite direction. Narrowing our differences on nonproliferation is important to realizing the full potential of our relationships.

I also believe India and Pakistan will not achieve real security until they resume dialogue to resolve their tensions. I am not going to mediate the dispute between India and Pakistan. America cannot play that role unless both sides want it. But I will urge restraint, respect for the Line of Control in Kashmir, and renewed lines of communication. Both India and Pakistan have legitimate security concerns. But neither can achieve its aims in an escalating contest of inflicting and absorbing pain.

Finally, I will speak directly to Gen. Pervez Musharraf and to the Pakistani people about the steps we believe are important to building a hopeful future for Pakistan: an early return to democracy, a crackdown on terrorist groups, restraint on nuclear and missile programs and a real effort to create the conditions for dialogue with India. If Pakistan takes these steps, we can get back on the path of partnership. …"

Visit to India

Joint Statements

'India-US Relations: A Vision for the 21st Century,' 'Institutional Dialogue Between India and the United States,' signed by Presdent Clinton and Prime Minister Vajpayee, New Delhi, March 21

India - US Relations: A Vision for the 21st Century

"At the dawn of a new century, Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton resolve to create a closer and qualitatively new relationship between India and the United States. …

In the new century, India and the United States will be partners in peace, with a common interest in and complementary responsibility for ensuring regional and international security. We will engage in regular consultations on, and work together and with others for, strategic stability in Asia and beyond. We will bolster joint efforts to counter terrorism and meet other challenges to regional peace. We will strengthen the international security system, including in the United Nations and support the United Nations in its peacekeeping efforts. We acknowledge that tensions in South Asia can only be resolved by the nations of South Asia. India is committed to enhancing cooperation, peace and stability in the region.

India and the United States share a commitment to reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons, but we have not always agreed on how to reach this common goal. The United States believes India should forgo nuclear weapons. India believes that it needs to maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterrent in keeping with its own assessment of its security needs. Nonetheless, India and the US are prepared to work together to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. To this end, we will persist with and build upon the productive bilateral dialogue already underway.

We reaffirm our respective voluntary commitment to forgo further nuclear explosive tests. We will work together and with others for an early commencement of negotiations on a treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. We have both shown strong commitment to export controls, and will continue to strengthen them. We will work together to prevent the spread of dangerous technologies. We are committed to build confidence and reduce the chances of miscalculation. We will pursue our security needs in a restrained and responsible manner and will not engage in nuclear and missile arms races. We will seek to narrow our differences and increase mutual understanding on non-proliferation and security issues. This will help us to realise the full potential of Indo-US relations and contribute significantly to regional and global security. …

Today, we pledge to deepen the Indian-American partnership in tangible ways, always seeking to reconcile our differences through dialogue and engagement, always seizing opportunities to advance the countless interests we have in common. As a first step, President Clinton has invited Prime Minister Vajpayee to visit Washington at a mutually convenient opportunity, and the Prime Minister has accepted that invitation. Henceforth, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of India should meet regularly to institutionalise our dialogue. We have also agreed on and separately outlined an architecture of additional high-level consultations, and of joint working groups, across the broad spectrum of areas in which we are determined to institutionalise our enhanced cooperation. And we will encourage even stronger people-to-people ties. …"

Institutional Dialogue Between India and the United States

"1. During the visit of President Clinton to Delhi in March 2000, Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton agreed as part of their vision for the future relationship that a regular, wide-ranging dialogue is important for achieving the goal of establishing closer and multifaceted relations between India and the United States and for the two countries to work jointly for promotion of peace and prosperity in the 21st century. The two leaders agreed on a number of steps to intensify and institutionalise the dialogue between India and the United States.

2. The Prime Minister of India and the President of the United States will hold regular bilateral 'Summits' in alternating capitals or elsewhere, including on the occasions of multilateral meetings, to review the bilateral relations and consult on international developments and issues. They will remain in frequent contact on telephone and through letters.

3. The two countries will also hold an Annual Foreign Policy Dialogue at the level of the External Affairs Minister of India and the Secretary of State of the United States. This dialogue will be broad-based and touch upon all aspects of India-US relations, including considering the work of other groups as appropriate.

4. The two countries also consider the ongoing Dialogue on Security and Non-proliferation between the External Affairs Minister of India and the Deputy Secretary of State of the United States important for improving mutual understanding on bilateral, regional and international security matters. They agreed that this dialogue should continue and take place semi-annually or as often as considered desirable by both sides. The Principals of this dialogue will establish Expert Groups on specific issues as considered desirable and appropriate.

5. Foreign Office Consultations between the Foreign Secretary of India and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States will continue. …

6. The two leaders consider combating international terrorism as one of the most important global challenges. They expressed satisfaction at the establishment of the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism and its productive first meeting in February 2000. They agree that the Joint Working Group should continue to meet regularly and become an effective mechanism for the two countries to share information and intensify their co-operation in combating terrorism. …"

9. The two leaders believe that the strong scientific resources of the two countries provide excellent opportunities for scientific collaboration between them. They agree to set up an India-US Science and Technology Forum. The Forum shall promote research and development, the transfer of technology, the creation of a comprehensive electronic reference source for Indo-US science and technology cooperation, and the electronic exchange and dissemination of information on Indo-US science and technology cooperation, and other programmes consistent with the previous practice of the US-India Foundation.

10. Institutional dialogue in other areas will be considered as mutually agreed."

The President's Address to a Joint Session of the Indian Parliament

'Remarks by the President to the Indian Joint Session of Parlaiment,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 22

"… Another danger we face is the spread of weapons of mass destruction to those who might have no reservations about using them. I still believe this is the greatest potential threat to the security we all face in the 21st century. It is why we must be vigilant in fighting the spread of chemical and biological weapons. And it is why we must both keep working closely to resolve our remaining differences on nuclear proliferation.

I am aware that I speak to you on behalf of a nation that has possessed nuclear weapons for 55 years and more. But since 1988, the United States has dismantled more than 13,000 nuclear weapons. We have helped Russia to dismantle their nuclear weapons and to safeguard the material that remains. We have agreed to an outline of a treaty with Russia that will reduce our remaining nuclear arsenal by more than half. We are producing no more fissile material, developing no newland- or submarine-based missiles, engaging in no new nuclear testing.

From South America to South Africa, nations are foreswearing these weapons, realizing that a nuclear future is not a more secure future. Most of the world is moving toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. That goal is not advanced if any country, in any region, it moves in the other direction.

I say this with great respect. Only India can determine its own interests. Only India - (applause) - only India can know if it truly is safer today than before the tests. Only India can determine if it will benefit from expanding its nuclear and missile capabilities, if its neighbors respond by doing the same thing. Only India knows if it can afford a sustained investment in both conventional and nuclear forces while meeting its goals for human development. These are questions others may ask, but only you can answer.

I can only speak to you as a friend about America's own experience during the Cold War. We were geographically distant from the Soviet Union. We were not engaged in direct armed combat. Through years of direct dialogue with our adversary, we each had a very good idea of the other's capabilities, doctrines, and intentions. We each spent billions of dollars on elaborate command and control systems, for nuclear weapons are not cheap.

And yet, in spite of all of this…we came far too close to nuclear war. We learned that deterrence alone cannot be relied on to prevent accident or miscalculation. And in a nuclear standoff, there is nothing more dangerous than believing there is no danger.

I can also repeat what I said at the outset. India is a leader, a great nation, which by virtue of its size, its achievements, and its example, has the ability to shape the character of our time. For anyof us, to claim that mantle and assert that status is to accept first and foremost that our actions have consequences for others beyond our borders. Great nations with broad horizons must consider whether actions advance or hinder what Nehru called the larger cause of humanity.

So India's nuclear policies, inevitably, have consequences beyond your borders: eroding the barriers against the spread of nuclear weapons, discouraging nations that have chosen to foreswear these weapons,encouraging others to keep their options open. But if India's nuclear test shook the world, India's leadership for nonproliferation can certainly move the world.

India and the United States have reaffirmed our commitment to forego nuclear testing. And for that I thank the Prime Minister, the government and the people of India. But in our own self-interest - and I say this again - in our own self-interest we can do more. I believe both nations should join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; work to launch negotiations on a treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons; strengthen export controls. And India can pursue defense policies in keeping with its commitment not to seek a nuclear or missile arms race, which the Prime Ministerhas forcefully reaffirmed just in these last couple of days.

Again, I do not presume to speak for you or to tell you what to decide. It is not my place. You are a great nation and you must decide. But I ask you to continue our dialogue on these issues. And let us turn our dialogue into a genuine partnership against proliferation. If we make progress in narrowing our differences, we will be both more secure, and our relationship can reach its full potential.

I hope progress can also be made in overcoming a source of tension in this region, including the tensions between India and Pakistan. I share many of your government's concerns about the course Pakistan is taking; your disappointment that past overtures have not always met with success; your outrage over recent violence. I know it is difficult to be a democracy bordered by nations whose governments reject democracy.

But I also believe - I also believe India has a special opportunity, as a democracy, to show its neighbors that democracy is about dialogue. It does not have to be about friendship, but it is about building working relationships among people who differ. … Engagement with adversaries is not the same thing as endorsement. It does not require setting aside legitimate grievances. Indeed, I strongly believe that what has happened since your Prime Minister made his courageous journey to Lahore only reinforces the need for dialogue. …

Let me also make clear, as I have repeatedly, I have certainly not come to South Asia to mediate the dispute over Kashmir. Only India and Pakistan can work out the problems between them. And I will say the same thing to General Musharraf in Islamabad. But if outsiders cannot resolve this problem, I hope you will create the opportunity to do it yourselves, calling on the support of others who can help where possible, as American diplomacy did in urging the Pakistanis to go back behind the line of control in the Kargil crisis. …"

Vajpayee Reply to the President's Address to Parliament

Prime Minister Vajpayee's reply to President's Clinton address to the joint session of Parliament, March 22

"For half a century, India has been consistent in the pursuit of international peace and legitimate security for all through global disarmament.

We still remain committed to a world free of nuclear weapons and believe that this is the way to enhance global security. We, however, find that our environment continues to witness proliferation of nuclear weapons and missiles. Such proliferation continues with impunity.

Our decision to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent is prompted by a realistic assessment of our security compulsions even as we continue our traditional policies of acting with restraint and responsibility. Our defence posture has always been defensive in nature. We are aware of the importance that you attach, Mr. President, to the subject of non-proliferation. …

India has always tried to develop its relations with its neighbours in an atmosphere of mutual trust and on the basis of mutually advantageous initiatives. Recent developments have unfortunately eroded that relationship of trust with one of them.

Our approach is realistic. We believe that mature nation states must seek durable and pragmatic solutions to differences only through peaceful, bilateral dialogue.

Aggressive use of force is no longer an acceptable language in international relations. …"

Source: Indian Government website, http://www.indiagov.org/clinton/intro.htm

Clinton/Vajpayee Press Conference

'Remarks by the President and Prime Minister Vajpayee of India in Joint Press Conference, New Delhi,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 21

Remarks by Prime Minister Vajpayee

"President Clinton and I had a frank discussion on the issues of disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The dialogue which is in progress between our two countries on these issues has enhanced the mutual understanding of our respective concerns. I've explained to President Clinton the reasons that compel us to maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent. I have reiterated our firm commitment not to conduct further nuclear explosive tests, not to engage in a nuclear arms race, and not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against any country. We have resolved to continue a dialogue and to work together in cooperation with other countries to help bring about a peaceful and secure world completely free of the threat of all weapons of mass destruction. …"

Remarks by President Clinton

"[B]oth our nations want a peaceful future. I recognize that India has real security concerns. … I also stressed [to the Prime Minister] that at a time when most nations, including the United States and Russia, are making real progress in moving away from nuclear weapons, the world needs India to lead in the same direction. …"


"Question: 'Mr. President, did you make any progress, did you achieve any progress today in persuading Prime Minister Vajpayee to take any of the specific steps that you have urged to restrain India's nuclear program - specifically, signing the CTBT, banning the production of fissile materials and tightening export controls? If you didn't make any progress today, and if you don't in the future, how close can this new relationship that you both have spoken of become?'

Clinton: 'Well, first of all, on this whole non-proliferation issue, we have had a dialogue that has gone on for some time now under the leadership of Mr. Singh and Mr. Talbott. And I would like to thank the Indian government for that work.

Secondly, I felt today that there was a possibility that we could reach more common ground on the issues of testing, on the production of fissile material, on export controls and on restraint, generally.

With regard to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, you heard the Prime Minister's statement about his position on testing. I would hope that the democratic process will produce a signing and ultimately a ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban in India, just like I hope the democratic process will ultimately produce a ratification of the Test Ban Treaty in America that I signed. These are contentious issues. But I'm actually quite optimistic about our ability to make progress on them.

And, again, I thank the Prime Minister for sanctioning what I think has been a very honest and thorough-going dialogue. We've been working on this for some time, and we will continue to do it. And I believe we will wind up in a common position.'

Question: 'Mr. President, you said in February that South Asia was perhaps the most dangerous place in the world today. Given the massacre yesterday and the increasing nuclear tensions, do you think that the risk of another war is increasing?'

Vajpayee: 'I'm sure after visiting this part of the world, the President will come to the conclusion that the situation is not so bad as it is made out to be. There are differences; there have been clashes; there is the problem of cross-country terrorism; innocent people are being killed. But there is no threat of any war. India is committed to peaceful means. We are prepared to solve all our problems, discuss all problems on the table. We do not think in terms of war, and nobody should think in those terms in this subcontinent. …'

Clinton: '… I was encouraged by what the Prime Minister said to me in private, which was just what he said to you in public, that he did not want any of the difficulties that we have been discussing today to become the occasion for war. …'"

Interview with President Clinton

'Interview of the President by Peter Jennings, ABC World News,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 21

"Question: 'Prime Minister Vajpayee said that you will conclude, now that you're here, that the situation - Kashmir, between India and Pakistan, is not as bad as they say it is. Is that what you conclude?'

Clinton: 'Well, I think that I've concluded that he is going to do everything he can to avoid having it escalate it into a war with Pakistan. And that is encouraging. But I still think it's a difficult situation, to say the least. I think it's important that they both show restraint. I think it's important that they respect the line of control, both sides do. And then, over the long run, I think what really matters - in terms of an ultimate resolution - is that the people of Kashmir feel that their legitimate interests are being addressed in some formal fashion. But I do feel better about his determination to avoid a war - at least what you might call a full-scale war. But I don't - I'm still very troubled by the fact there's so much violence there. A lot of it obviously is propagated beyond the borders of Kashmir, and I don't think the line of control is adequately respected. And I think - you know, what happened at Kargil was very troubling to me, because I supported strongly the dialogue between India and Pakistan in the Lahore process. I still think it's a difficult situation, and I don't think they should take it lightly, either side.'

Question: 'Moreover, Prime Minister Vajpayee is much more militant with the Indian press than he was with you today.'

Clinton: 'That's good, though. That means that - maybe that means my trip here has a beneficial impact. And I hope I can have some impact on the Pakistanis when I go there.'

Question: 'What do you mean by "impact," Mr. President?'

Clinton: 'You know, I spent last July 4 trying to persuade former Prime Minister Sharif to withdraw back behind the line of control. He did. I think it weakened him when he did, frankly; but it was the right thing to do. … If you look at how well the Indians and the Pakistani Americans have done, how well they're doing in the information economy in the United States, how well they're beginning to do here - it's truly a tragedy that they're basically trapped in this position which, even if it doesn't lead to war, leads to big expenses on defense, which could be spent on education and health care or the development of a modern economy. …'

Question: 'I have a nuclear question. The United States tells people in the rest of the world to be like us. And the Indians say, right, we're just like you, we're a democracy, we're a free market economy and we have nuclear weapons in order to protect our national security. What's wrong with that?'

Clinton: 'Well, what's wrong with it is that we're trying to lead the world away from nuclear power and away from the threat of nuclear war. And when the Indians took this position they basically said, we don't think we can be secure without nuclear weapons and it's our right as a great nation to have them. And we, first of all, don't believe it does - we don't believe it enhances their security. We think countries like Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, that walked away from the prospect of nuclear programs, are more secure and have more funds to support their own national security and the development of their people and their economy. And we believe that it sends a bad signal when a great democracy like India, in effect, is telling the world that we ought to get into another arms race. I've tried to reduce the arms of the United States. I hope this year we'll make another effort to reduce the arms of the United States and the arms of Russia. I've tried to support the comprehensive test ban treaty, the nonproliferation treaty, the restriction of thedistribution of fissile material. So I think - India, it sounds great to say, well, the United States has nuclear weapons and they're a democracy, we ought to. But if you look at the whole history of this thing, what they're saying is, we want to reverse the move toward reducing the nuclear threat because we say we ought to have nuclear weapons.'

Question: 'Well, they also say, sir, that these are weapons of self-esteem and this is a US…'

Clinton: 'Self-esteem, that's right. If they're weapons of self-esteem for India then every nation in the entire world has the same right to self-esteem - so, therefore, however many countries there are in the world, everyone that can afford one ought to have a nuclear weapon. I do not believe that that would make the world safer; I believe that that would make the world more dangerous. So I respect what the Indian[s] say. They say, look, it's not just Pakistan - China has nuclear weapons. You know, it wasn't so many decades ago we had a border war with China; we have our problems there. But I think that most people believe…that all nations would be more secure if we reduce the overall nuclear threat and reduce the number of people that had access to nuclear weapons. And also keep in mind, the more nuclear weapons you have, the more nuclear material you have, the more risk you have that that nuclear material will be subject to pilfering. So you have to worry about, not only about other states becoming nuclear states, but even terrorists getting a hold of small-scale nuclear weapons. I just think that it takes the world in the wrong direction. It's an honest disagreement we have with the Indians.'

Question: 'Yes, because the Indians say to you, you Americans say well, you just don't trust us…'

Clinton: 'That's not true.'

Question: '…it's okay for you, but you don't trust us.'

Clinton: 'No, that's not true. Actually, I do trust them. I believe Prime Minister Vajpayee when he says, I will never be the first to use nuclear weapons. So it's not a question of trust. What I don't agree with is that a country needs nuclear weapons to manifest its esteem or its national greatness. Nor do I agree that India is actually more secure with these nuclear weapons. I think that in some ways it reduces one's security.'

Question: 'Trust the Pakistanis with control of nuclear weapons, too?'

Clinton: 'I feel the same way about them. I think - they probably think they have a better argument, since they know they couldn't win a conventional war with India, because India is so much bigger. And because Lahore, for example, one of the most important places, is so close to the Indian border. But it just seems to me - again, if you look at - if you ask yourself, where is there greater security? In Brazil, in Argentina, or even in South Africa, or even in South Korea, where they renounced nuclear weapons? Are those people less secure than the people of Pakistan and India? I think you would have to say they are not less secure. So my argument is any country can say to us, any country - particularly another democracy - oh, you're a hypocrite, you've got nuclear weapons, you don't want us to have any. Well, I'm trying to reduce the store of nuclear weapons the United States has, the store Russia has. The Russians have supported this. And we're trying to make the world more stable. I just think - I don't think they're more secure by having nuclear weapons.'"

Remarks by President Narayanan

Remarks by President Narayanan of India at a banquet in honour of President Clinton, March 21

"In…a globalized world society, there would be no place for hegemonistic controls or cutthroat competition. India, Mr. President, is a country that has wrested its independence from one of the mightiest empires on Earth by the method of nonviolence. It is not a desire of this nation to solve such problems as we have with our neighbors by the use of force.

With Pakistan, which was carved out of our body politic, it was our desire to have friendly cooperation in a hundred ways after partition. But if India's integrity and independence is threatened, it becomes the duty of the Indian state - its duty to the 1 billion people who inhabit our vast land - to defend them with all the resources and strength at its disposal.

We are open to a dialogue and a peaceful settlement of differences. But should they have the divine right of aggression and of indiscriminate and well-organized terrorism across the international borders or the agreed line of control sanctified by solemn treaties and commitments?

It has been suggested that the Indian subcontinent is the most dangerous place in the world today, and Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint. These alarmist descriptions will only encourage those who want to break the peace and indulge in terrorism and violence. The danger is not from us who have declared solemnly that we will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, but rather it is from those who refuse to make any such commitment.

We are publicly committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons together with other nuclear powers who possess them in awesome stockpiles capable of destroying the world many times over. India does not threaten any other country and will not engage in an arms race, but India will maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent - no more, no less - for her own security.

We continue to be anxious to work with the USA to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and to promote a goal of a world free of weapons of mass destruction. On this historic, auspicious occasion of your visit to India, Mr. President, let us appeal to the world to take steps, concrete and substantive, towards nuclear disarmament along with nonproliferation, so that we do not consolidate the existing inequalities and sanctify the possession of nuclear weapons in the armouries of the nations. …"

Source: Remarks by President Clinton and President Narayanan of India in an exchange of toasts, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 21.

Visit to Pakistan

President Clinton's Address to the Nation

'Remarks by the President in greeting to the people of Pakistan,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Islamabad, March 25

"… Despite setbacks and suffering, the people of Pakistan have built this nation from the ground up, on a foundation of democracy and law. And for more than 50 years now, we have been partners with you. Pakistan helped the United States open a dialogue with China. We stood togetherwhen the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Our partnership helped to end the Cold War. In many years since, we have cooperated in the fight against terrorism. Our soldiers have stood together in missions of peace in every part of the world. This is your proud legacy; our proud legacy.

Now we are in the dawn of a new century, and a new and changing world has come into view. All around the globe, a revolution is taking hold - a revolution that is tearing down barriers and building up networks among nations and individuals … Like all key moments in human history, this one poses some hard choices, for this era does not reward people who struggle in vain to redraw borders with blood. It belongs to those with the vision to look beyond borders, for partners and commerce and trade. It does not favornations where governments claim all the power to solve every problem. Instead, it favors nations where the people have the freedom and responsibility to shape their own destiny.

Pakistan can achieve great things in this new world, but real obstacles stand in the way. The political situation, the economic situation, the tensions in this region - they are holding Pakistan back from achieving its full potential in the global economy.

I know I don't have to tell you all this. This is something you know, something you have seen. But I do have hope. I believe Pakistan can make its way through the trouble, and build a future worthy of the vision of its founders: A stable, prosperous, democratic Pakistan, secure in its borders, friendly with its neighbors, confident in its future. A Pakistan, as Jinnah said, at peace within and at peace without.

What is in the way of that vision? Well, clearly, the absence of democracy makes it harder, not easier, for people to move ahead. I know democracy isn't easy; it's certainly not perfect. … We share your disappointment that previous democratic governments in Pakistan did not do better for their citizens. But one thing is certain: democracy cannot develop if it is constantly uprooted before it has a chance to firmly take hold. Successful democratic government takes time and patience and hard work. The answer to flawed democracy is not to end democracy, but to improve it. I know General Musharraf has just announced a date for local elections. That is a good step. But the return of civilian democratic rule requires a complete plan, a real road map. …

There are obstacles to your progress, including violence and extremism. We Americans also have felt these evils. Surely we have both suffered enough to know that no grievance, no cause, no system of beliefs can ever justify the deliberate killing of innocents. Those who bomb bus stations, target embassies or kill those who uphold thelaw are not heroes. They are our common enemies, for their aim is to exploit painful problems, not to resolve them. Just as we have fought together to defeat those who traffick in narcotics, today I ask Pakistan to intensify its efforts to defeat those who inflict terror.

Another obstacle to Pakistan's progress is the tragic squandering of effort, energy and wealth on polices that make your nation poorer, but not safer. That is one reason we must try to resolve the differences between our two nations on nuclear weapons.

Again, you must make the decision. But my questions to you are no different from those I posed in India. Are you really more secure today than you were before you tested nuclear weapons? Will these weapons make war with India less likely or simply more deadly? Will a costly arms race help you to achieve any economic development? Will it bring you closer to your friends around the world, closer to the partnerships you need to build your dreams?

Today, the United States is dramatically cutting its nuclear arsenal. Around the world nations are renouncing these weapons. I ask Pakistan also to be a leader for nonproliferation. In your own self-interest, to help us to prevent dangerous technologies from spreading to those who might have no reservations at all about using them, take the right steps now to prevent escalation, to avoid miscalculation, to reduce the risk of war.

As leaders in your own country have suggested, one way to strengthen your security would be to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The whole world will rally around you if you do.

I believe it is also in Pakistan's interest to reduce tensions with India. When I was in New Delhi, I urged India to seize the opportunity for dialogue. Pakistan also must help create conditions that will allow dialogue to succeed. For India and Pakistan this must be a time of restraint, for respect for the line of control, and renewed lines of communication.

I have listened carefully to General Musharraf and others. I understand your concerns about Kashmir. I share your convictions that human rights of all its people must be respected. But a stark truth must also be faced. There is no military solution to Kashmir. International sympathy, support and intervention cannot be won by provoking a bigger, bloodier conflict. On the contrary; sympathy and support will be lost. And no matter how great the grievance, it is wrong to support attacks against civilians across the line of control. …

The American people don't want to see tensions rise and suffering increase. We want to be a force for peace. But we cannot force peace. We can't impose it. We cannot and will not mediate or resolve the dispute in Kashmir. Only you and India can do that, through dialogue.

Last year, the world watched with hope as the leaders of India and Pakistan met in Lahore on the road to better relations. This is the right road to peace for Pakistan and India, and for the resolution of the problems in Kashmir. Therefore, I will do all I can to help both sides restore the promise and the process of Lahore. …"

Statement by General Musharraf

Highlights of Chief Executive's press conference

'Opening Statement of the Chief Executive,' Government of Pakistan http://www.pak.gov.pk/public/cepc25-3.htm, March 25

"President Bill Clinton's visit to Islamabad has been highly significant as the first by a US President in more than three decades. The visit provided us with an opportunity to have important and wide-ranging discussions with him. The visit augurs well for a better future of our region and for strengthening of mutual relations between Pakistan and the United States.

You must have listened to President Clinton's address on TV. He recalled friendly cooperation between the two countries has a long history and has contributed towards bringing about the positive global transformation of our times. As we enter the new century, we remain convinced that strong friendly relations between Pakistan and the United States are vital for peace, stability and progress of our region.

President Clinton has visited our region at a time when it is passing through a critical period. We both shared the concern that tensions in South Asia are high and need to be defused. It is widely recognised that Kashmir is the root cause of tensions in the region.

We deeply appreciate the interest expressed by President Clinton in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and reduction of tensions between Pakistan and India. He stressed the need for the resumption of dialogue between the two countries. I told him that Pakistan is ready for a dialogue anywhere at any time and at any level. I also impressed upon President Clinton that US engagement is necessary to facilitate a meaningful dialogue for progress towards resolution of the Kashmir problem, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

My discussions with the US President also covered all issues of mutual concern relative to our region and beyond, including nuclear matters and terrorism. The US President pointed to concerns over nuclear proliferation and emphasised the need for restraint. I reaffirmed our policy of restraint and responsibility on nuclear matters. I also reiterated Pakistan's long standing policy of preventing nuclear proliferation. I stated that Pakistan's nuclear deterrence is indispensable for our security. I proposed resumption of dialogue with the United States nuclear issues.

Both sides fully agreed on the need to combat the menace of terrorism. Pakistan will continue to participate in all international efforts aimed at combating terrorism wherever and in whichever form it occurs.

I told President Clinton about the steps taken by the Government to ensure economic revival, rebuilding of state institutions and the restoration of genuine democracy in the country. I shared with him our plans, announced two days ago, to hold elections for local bodies and bringing about structural changes to ensure devolution of power at the grass root levels. …

I am confident that my talks with President Clinton will serve to rejuvenate our fifty year old friendship for mutual benefit and a better world."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.