India Nuclear Tests, 11 & 13 May 1998

United Nations; G8 Foreign Ministers; Governments of Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Fra
27 May 1998
International Comments

Information Service, 17 May.

Radio Address by President Clinton, 16 May

"India's neighbours can set a strong example of responsibility for the world by not yielding to pressure to follow India's example and conduct their own nuclear tests. ... 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."

Source: 'Radio Address by the President to the Nation,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 16 May.

White House Statement on Sanctions, 13 May

"On Wednesday 13 May, 1998, the President reported to Congress that he had imposed sanctions on India as a consequence of that country's 11 May nuclear test explosion. These sanctions were required by Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act, otherwise known as the Glenn Amendment. The sanctions imposed are as follows:

  • termination of assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, except for humanitarian assistance for food or other agricultural commodities;
  • termination of sales of defense articles, defense services, or design and construction services under the Arms Export Control Act, and termination of licences for the export of any item on the United States munitions list;
  • termination of all foreign military financing under the Arms Export Control Act;
  • denial of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by and department, agency or instrumentality of the United States government;
  • the United States opposition to the extension of any loan for financial or technical assistance by any international financial institution;
  • prohibiting United States banks from making any loan or providing credit to the Government of India, except for the purposes of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities; and
  • prohibiting export of specific goods and technology subject to export licencing by the Commerce Department.

Finally, the Secretary of State is making a similar determination under Section 2 (b) (4) of the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945; thereafter, the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank may not give approval to guarantee, insure, or extend credit, or participate in the extension of credit in support of United States exports to India."

Source: India Sanctions, Statement by White House Press Secretary, 13 May.

Remarks by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, 20 May

"The leaders in New Delhi have made a grave historical error... India's rash action is sure to heighten security tensions throughout southern Asia. And other nations may be tempted to follow India's wrongheaded example. ... [However,] if Pakistan's leaders do not test, they will defy India's expectations and foil India's desire to drag Pakistan's world-standing down."

Source: US urges India to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, United States Information Service, 20 May.

Statement by Jesse Helms, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 13 May

"I am astonished that the Indian Government was able to catch the US intelligence capability sound asleep at the switch, revealing the stark reality that the Clinton Administration's six-year cosying up to India has been a foolhardy and perilous substitute for common sense. ...

Even so, the Indian Government has not shot itself in the foot - it has most likely shot itself in the head. ... The Indian Government has deluded itself into the absurd assumption that the possession of nuclear weapons will make Indian 'a superpower,' at a time when hundreds of millions of India's people are in poverty. ...

Additionally, India's actions demonstrate that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty..., from a non-proliferation standpoint, is scarcely more than a sham. I hope that the Clinton Administration has learned from its mistakes sufficiently to refuse to allow India to paper over its actions by signing the CTBT. I, for one, cannot and will not agree to any treaty which would legitimise de facto India's possession of these weapons, just so long as they are not caught testing them. ...

India's nuclear testing is compelling, additional evidence pointing to the need for a national missile defense to protect the United States. ... Finally, India's actions underscore how vital the US nuclear deterrent is to our security. What is needed, at this time, is not a scramble for an arms control treaty that prohibits the United States from guaranteeing the safety of the American people and