View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 7, 1998

President Clinton has decided to ease sanctions against India and Pakistan in response to positive steps both countries have taken to address our nonproliferation concerns following their nuclear tests in May.

The President took this step after Congress passed the Brownback amendment last month as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act. This measure, which the Administration supported, provides limited authority for the President to waive some of the sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan in May under the Glenn amendment.

For the last five months, Deputy Secretary of State Talbott has led U.S. efforts to persuade India and Pakistan to take steps to lessen the danger of a nuclear arms race in South Asia and to repair the damage to the global nonproliferation regime caused by their nuclear tests. In response, the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers have both declared a moratorium on further nuclear testing and publicly committed at the United Nations General Assembly to move toward adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by September 1999. Both have committed to strengthening controls on the export of nuclear and missile technology. The two are now participating in Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations in Geneva. Finally, the Indo-Pakistani dialogue, including discussion of Kashmir, has resumed.

In response to these steps and to encourage greater progress in the future, the President, after consultations with the Congress, has decided to make use of the Brownback waiver authority in a limited, targeted way. With respect to our bilateral economic ties, he will restore the Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and Trade and Development Agency (TDA) programs in India and Pakistan, and lift restrictions on the activities of U.S. banks in India and Pakistan. We will also resume our military-to-military relationships with both countries by restoring military education and training programs (IMET).

These steps are intended to demonstrate to the leaders and publics of both India and Pakistan that we are serious about our dialogue and that we seek to create a more positive environment that will encourage India and Pakistan to take further steps to lessen the danger of a nuclear arms race in South Asia and to repair the damage to the global nonproliferation regime caused by their nuclear tests. We look forward to actions by India and Pakistan as soon as possible to fulfill their assurances concerning adherence to the CTBT and strengthening export controls. We also want to work closely with them in pursuit of a multilateral moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, pending entry into force of the FMCT and their adoption of restraints on the development and deployment of nuclear capable missiles and aircraft.

We and many other countries are very concerned about Pakistan's financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund is working actively with Pakistan to develop a program to forestall default on its international debt.

To address this issue, the United States and its partners in July agreed to relax our multilateral sanctions to allow the IMF to negotiate a support program to strengthen the Pakistani economy. The IMF is still negotiating this program with Pakistan. In light of continuing weakness in the Pakistani economy, the President has decided that the United States will work closely with our allies to permit lending from the multilateral development banks as necessary to support an agreement between Pakistan and the IMF. Implementation is contingent on Pakistan reaching agreement on a credible reform program, including the problems facing the independent power producers. Like our decision in July to support resumption of IMF negotiations with Pakistan, this decision is in response only to Pakistan's financial emergency.

Further progress on the benchmarks agreed by the P-5 and G-8 is necessary and achievable. We look forward to the possibility of a Presidential visit to India and Pakistan next year after more progress has been achieved. We want to see that visit take place in the kind of positive environment that should mark our bilateral relationships with these two important countries.