SANDNet Weekly Update, June 28, 2001

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CONTENTS
June 28, 2001
Volume 2, #26

Nuclear Issues

1. Stimson Center Report
2. India Statements at UN
3. Pakistan Nuclear Policy
4. Missile Defense Issues

Pakistan

1. Defense Budget
2. Military Government
3. India-Pakistan Summit
4. Pakistan Preparations for Summit
5. Pakistan-US Relations

India

1. Military Hardware
2. Pakistan Military Government
3. India-Pakistan Summit
4. India-US Relations
5. India-PRC Relations
6. PRC Navy Vessel
7. India-Bangladesh Border Issue

Summit

1. India-Pakistan Summit
2. Summit Statements
3. Summit Agenda
4. Militant Group Statements

Sri Lanka

1. Political Crisis
2. Peace Process


Nuclear Issues
     
1. Stimson Center Report

Michael Krepon, president emeritus of the US-based Henry L. Stimson Center, writes in Outlook India that the challenges of nuclear risk reduction are likely to be greater in South Asia than it was for the US and the Soviet Union because of what the Stimson Center describes as the Stability-Instability Paradox (see report below). Krepon argues that strategic stability is not assured with nuclear weapons because of the high demands of a nuclear weapons program that is safe, secure and survivable. He also argues that many nuclear adversaries become more vulnerable, especially with a limited arsenal, and that there is an increased incidence of provocative actions. Krepon argues that the leadership of Pakistan and India have a responsibility to reduce nuclear dangers in the region, and that reaching this goal requires constant engagement of Pakistan by India.

The Henry L. Stimson Center released a report edited by Michael Krepon and Chris Gagne with five essays that focus on the complex triangular nuclear interaction among India, Pakistan, and China. These essays examine nuclear dangers in the region and propose strategies for reducing these dangers through political, diplomatic, and technical means. The report contains essays by Michael Krepon, P.R. Chari, Chris Gagne, Kent Biringer and Harinder Baweja. The Jang argues that the report, because of the author list, appears biased towards Indian and US perspectives and ignores the Pakistani perspective.

2. India Statements at UN

Indian acting permanent representative to the UN Satyabrata Pal stated that the prevention of nuclear conflict required a multilateral compact calling for the time-bound abolition of all nuclear weapons. Pal also stressed the role of democratic governments in reducing the chance of conflict between states.

3. Pakistan Nuclear Policy

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf (see below for change of title information) reiterated that Pakistan would not compromise its minimum nuclear deterrent. He states, “Pakistan believes in maintaining a minimum credible deterrence and does not want to direct its available resources towards the race of weapons of mass destruction.”

4. Missile Defense Issues

Parama Sinha Palit, a Research Scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, states in an essay for the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi that US President George Bush’s drive towards National Missile Defense has created international apprehension and criticism. Palit argues NMD will cause an arms race and new weapons systems. While India has made early statements supporting missile defense, Palit argues India cannot afford to alienate Russia but can take advantage of the security benefits of being under a missile defense shield.


Pakistan
     
1. Defense Budget

An editorial in the Times of India argues that Pakistan’s decision to cut its defense budget for the first time should be viewed more as a result of pressure by the International Monetary Fund rather than as a gesture before the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit.

2. Military Government

Pakistan Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf, citing constitutional necessity, took the oath as president of Pakistan. This will enable him to meet with Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee as an equal in terms of constitutional authority and give the results of the summit “constitutional authority.” Musharraf will also retain his titles of Chief Executive, Chief of Army Staff, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Jang reports he may relinquish his title as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He stated that elections will still take place in October 2002, as called for by the Supreme Court.

Tariq Butt writes in The Jang that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has left unspecified the duration of his tenure as president. However, military government spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi stated that Musharraf’s term would last five years and that he would not simply complete Rafiq Tarar’s tenure. Qureshi said it was undecided whether Musharraf would seek a vote of confidence from the Congress once elections are held in 2002. Qureshi later denied having stated that Musharraf would serve a full five-year term as president.

Outgoing Pakistan President Rafiq Tarar, states Ikram Hoti and The Jang, was reluctant to tender his resignation. He had been in office since January 1998, and had been elected for a five-year term.

Attaur Rehman, a professor at Punjab University, stated that the aggressive agenda laid out by Musharraf couldn’t be completed within the court-imposed deadline for elections. For this reason, state analysts, Musharraf strengthened his position to remain in power beyond this deadline.

An editorial in the Times of India argues that Pervez Musharraf’s assumption of the title of president had been expected for some time in Pakistan. The editorial argues that Musharraf’s justifications are weak, because he comes to the India-Pakistan summit with the same stature as without the title of president.

The Times of India reports that a Pakistani analyst states that a pro-PRC group is slowly taking over positions within the Pakistani Army and that the group favors an aggressive insurgency to being India to its knees. However, the Times of India reports, the pro-PRC group may see many of its officers retire soon to be replaced by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf with officers more friendly to the US. The article states that some Pakistani officers visiting the US believe Lieutenant General M.H. Usmani, head of the group, may execute a second coup before the end of this year.

3. India-Pakistan Summit

The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 196 Indian fisherman, taken into custody for fishing in Pakistani waters, would be released along with their 32 boats.

Pakistan Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood and military government spokesman Rashid Qureshi stated that the upcoming summit would have no fixed agenda. They indicated that Pakistan would focus on the Kashmir dispute.

4. Pakistan Preparations for Summit

The Times of India reports that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has invited twenty-four political parties for consultations ahead of the summit in a bid to secure political legitimacy. Musharraf has also planned similar meetings with religious leaders and media members. Several political parties, including former Prime Minister Banazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML), have decided to boycott the meetings.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has also issued invitations to Kashmiri leaders to meet with him during his trip to India.

5. Pakistan-US Relations

Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar argued that US sanctions are responsible for Pakistan’s reliance on nuclear weapons and for the rising religious extremism in Pakistan. Sattar’s arguments were affirmed by several US politicians. US Senator Sam Brownback said, “The more we isolate Pakistan, the more they become a difficulty.” During his visit to the US, Sattar met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

US State Department deputy spokesman Phillip Reeker stated that the US sought to build a cooperative relationship with Pakistan. However, he said, “Clearly democracy is a part of that.” Reeker stated that the US hoped Pakistan would return to democracy and that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s move to become president was a move in the wrong direction.

Acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gary Usrey stated, “US policy towards Pakistan could not change until it established a real democratic system of government.” Usrey’s statements dampen the possibility that sanctions may be lifted against Pakistan.


India
     
1. Military Hardware

The Times of India reports that India’s INS Viraat aircraft carrier has returned to service after a modernization and refitting, which includes the addition of an Israeli-made Barak missile system. India has also recently added to its fleet the guided missile destroyer INS Mumbai and the missile submarine INS Sindhuhastra. The Times of India reports that the absence of the Varaat was noticeable because of its role in controlling the seas and delivering airpower around India.

2. Pakistan Military Government

The Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman initially refused to comment on the decision by Pakistan Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf to assume the title of President. Shortly after Musharraf was sworn in as president, Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee called Musharraf for a brief talk. An Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman also announced after the swearing in ceremony that “General Musharraf will be accorded a reception befitting a head of state when he arrives in New Delhi.” External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said, “It is their arrangement and we have to deal with the government of the day.”

The Dawn reported that Indian analysts have described the relatively positive Indian response to Pakistan Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf’s assumption of the presidency as a practical move to maintain the cordial atmosphere between the two countries in the days before the summit.

3. India-Pakistan Summit

Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, speaking in response to questions in Australia, stated that Pakistan has never been India’s primary enemy. Discussing Kashmir, he said, “It’s not a territorial dispute. We do not believe in denominational nationalism.”

BJP president Jana Krishnamurthy stated that conversion of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir into an international border would not be discussed at the upcoming summit.

4. India-US Relations

Torkel Patterson, with the US National Security Council, stated that President George Bush was planning a trip to India for early next year. The Times of India also reported that this was confirmed by US Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim.

Indian Minister of External Affairs and of Defense Jaswant Singh stated that increased military-to-military cooperation was one component of increased US-India relations. He said, “Access to bases is moving too fast, yet, let these things evolve over time.”

5. India-PRC Relations

The India-PRC working group on their border dispute is expected to meet on June 28 to exchange opinions on the Line of Actual Control.

6. PRC Navy Vessel

The Indian Coast Guard responded to a call for assistance from the PRC merchant vessel OSG Argosy about 550 km off the Indian coast and provided medical assistance.

7. India-Bangladesh Border Issue

India and Bangladesh will hold talks over their boundary dispute from July 2 to July 4, the first meeting since sixteen Indian Border Security Forces were killed in April.


Summit
     
1. India-Pakistan Summit

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will visit India from July 14 to July 16 for the summit with Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. The summit will take place in Agra. Musharraf is scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal, in Agra, for one hour on July 15.

2. Summit Statements

Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee stated his confidence that the upcoming summit would yield positive results. He also said, “We are clear that Kashmir is an integral part of India. We will stress this issue in the dialogue.” Vajpayee stated that he would convene an all-party meeting prior to the summit to review India-Pakistan ties and to discuss the path of their future relations. Kashmiri leaders, including those of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and the Democratic Freedom Party, expressed disappointment in Vajpayee’s statement on Kashmir.

In an interview with CNN, Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar stated that Pakistan is interested in the US playing a role in the permanent and just settlement of the Kashmir issue. US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that the US was prepared to play a role in the India-Pakistan dialogue if both countries invite the US to assist.

During Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s call to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf just before Musharraf was sworn in, the two leaders agreed to tone down the political rhetoric in the days before the summit.

3. Summit Agenda

Pakistan’s The News reports that the topics expected to be discussed during the summit include the Iran-India gas pipeline that will transit Pakistani territory and a facility for the transit of trade goods exported from India to the Central Asian republics. They will discuss the possibility of Pakistan importing a range of goods from India and the need for cultural exchanges.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar stated that Kashmir and other issues would be discussed at the summit.

The Times of India reports that an article in Pakistan’s Urdu daily Ummat states that the US is pressing India and Pakistan to agree that India should keep Jammu, Pakistan should keep Azad Kashmir, and the Kashmir Valley should become independent.

4. Militant Group Statements

Kashmiri leaders, including those of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and the Democratic Freedom Party, expressed disappointment in Vajpayee’s statement on Kashmir.

The All-Parties Hurriyat Conference has convened an all-party meeting for July 9 to discuss the upcoming summit. The APHC executive committee has been meeting to discuss the summit in light of the group’s requests to the Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee for meetings. The Deccan Herald reports that this is the first formal letter to an Indian Prime Minister since the group’s formation.

The News reports that Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee has refused the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference’s request for a meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during his trip to India.

Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangi Qazi will be hosting a “high tea” on July 14 for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. The Deccan Herald is reporting the Qazi may invite the leadership of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference to the tea, but the invitation to this informal meeting would require the approval of the Indian government.

5. Commentary on Summit

The links below provide coverage of commentary on the upcoming India-Pakistan summit meeting of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.


Sri Lanka
     
1. Political Crisis

The People’s Alliance Party of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga lost its majority in parliament with the defection of a member of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. The opposition United National Party launched talks to form an interim government, partly to oversee future elections. Though the UNP submitted a no-confidence motion, elections cannot be constitutionally held until January, leaving the ruling party without a majority for the first time since independence in 1948.

2. Peace Process

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga sought assurances from opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on a bipartisan approach to reviving the Norwegian-backed peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Kumaratunga also explored during the meeting the possibility of lifting the ban on the LTTE, a key LTTE demand for the resumption of talks.

 


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