For Immediate Release: May 21, 1998

For more information, contact: David Albright, President
or Kevin O'Neill, Deputy Director

Preventing a South Asian Nuclear Arms Race

Science organization calls for India and Pakistan to halt production of fissile materials, agree not to test nuclear explosives

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) today called on the United States and the international community to press India and Pakistan to "head off a South Asian nuclear arms race." In particular, ISIS called for international efforts to "prevent further nuclear tests (and) persuade India and Pakistan to halt the production of fissile materials for weapons."

Now that the United States and other countries have imposed sanctions on India for conducting nuclear tests, the international community must decide how high a price India should pay before these sanctions are lifted. "One short-sighted proposal," according to ISIS, "is to reduce sanctions in exchange for India's adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)."

In an issue brief released today, ISIS argues that India's unconditional adherence to the CTBT would reduce tensions in the region, but "to cap the South Asian nuclear arms race, India and Pakistan should agree to stop producing nuclear explosive materials for nuclear weapons." According to the issue brief, "India's adherence to the CTBT ... would do little to prevent [it] from greatly expanding its arsenal."

The issue brief recognizes that Pakistan can be expected to block international negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), which are to be held in Geneva, but stresses that "the dangers warrant strong international pressure to convince Pakistan to change its mind."

The ISIS issue brief is attached.

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