News Release

Pakistan and India: Into the Nuclear Fire?


As Colin Powell visits Pakistan and India, the following analysts are available for interviews:

Mian is co-editor of the book Out of the Nuclear Shadow and a researcher on South Asian security issues with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He said today: “The first and most immediate task is ensuring Pakistan’s stability: The longer the U.S. bombs Afghanistan, the more civilians get killed and the greater the refugee crisis, the more unstable the situation becomes. The second task is to cool tensions between India and Pakistan, as India pushes for action against Pakistani-supported radical Islamic groups fighting in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Third, the U.S. is lifting economic and military sanctions it imposed against India and Pakistan after their May 1998 nuclear tests, but it must ensure that there is no military build-up in the region. Otherwise, we shall jump out of the frying pan of terrorism and into the fire of a South Asian nuclear confrontation. Fourth, General Musharraf should not be allowed to use the current crisis to delay the elections and restoration of democratic government scheduled for next year.”
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Truman, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on nuclear weapons policy, is author of the article “India — Villain, Hero, or Scapegoat?” and director of the Downwinders organization. He said today: “Pakistan, the newest member of the nuclear weapons club, has approximately 30 nuclear weapons. Should the government of Pakistan fall as a result of its support of the U.S. strikes against Afghanistan — and should it be replaced with pro-Taliban forces — where will those weapons end up? By removing sanctions against India and Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons in return for support of our strikes against Afghanistan, we are junking the entire concept of opposition to nuclear proliferation.”
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Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which just released the report “Nuclear Weapons in a Changed World: The Hidden Dangers of the Rush to War” and a report earlier this year titled “Looking for New Ways to Use Nuclear Weapons.” She said today: “The Bush administration has indicated that it intends a long war, and has hinted that it may attack other countries that it believes ‘harbor terrorists.’ Such a wider war could involve, directly or indirectly, Israel, the U.S., Pakistan, India, the U.K. and Russia — six of the eight countries known to have nuclear arms. U.S. officials already have explicitly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the current conflict. If the war continues to escalate, the U.S. government might ultimately use low-yield nuclear weapons, such as earth-penetrators to destroy mountain caves. These are billed as being ‘clean’ weapons but would potentially spew radioactive dirt over hundreds of miles and would cross a historical nuclear threshold.” Lichterman is program director at the Western States Legal Foundation.
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Burroughs is executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy and author of the recent paper “A Rule-of-Law Response.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167