United States. Congress. House. Committee on Inter.

U.S. interests in South Asia : hearings before the Subcommittees on International Economic Policy and Trade and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first and second session, December 5, 1995 and April 18, 1996 online

. (page 4 of 19)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterU.S. interests in South Asia : hearings before the Subcommittees on International Economic Policy and Trade and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first and second session, December 5, 1995 and April 18, 1996 → online text (page 4 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ties and not to tie them to any other activities in the committee
in disarmament.

Mr. Berman. Thank you.

I gather from your testimony that the F-16s are now a dead
issue.

Mr. RiEDEL. In terms of delivering them to Pakistan, yes. We are
still seeking



23

Mr. Berman. I understand countries and the money, but in
terms of F-16s to Pakistan that is over with. It is not an annual
re-assessment. A decision has been made.

Mr. Riedel. A decision has been made.

Mr. Berman. And communicated today, if not before.

Mr. Riedel. We are actively seeking to find a buyer to take
them.

Mr. Berman. But the decision is not conditioned on finding a
buyer.

Mr. Riedel. No.

Mr. Berman. Thank you.

Mr. Bereuter. We will come back to the gentleman if he wishes.
I will say to Mr. Funderburk, under the subcommittee rules I have
to recognize the gentleman first and then I will come immediately
to you.

The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Brown.

Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Ms. Raphel, you mentioned the threat to stability posed by ethnic
conflicts that have interstate aspects, specifically Kashmir.

That I believe should also include Punjab. All of us receive faxes
and materials regularly that make wild, unsubstantiated claims
about the situation in Punjab from something called the Council of
Kalistan.

The Council of Kalistan is registered with the Department of
Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Curiously, the Council of Kalistan lists its address the "Golden
Temple Omishar". Earlier this year, a member of my staff visited
the Golden Temple on a trip to Omishar, where he met with the
head of the temple, who told him categorically that no such organi-
zation exists there at the Golden Temple. In fact, no one at the
Temple had even heard of the Council of Kalistan.

We found out that G. S. Aleck, the Council's lobbyist, made a
sworn statement in his Foreign Agents filing that the Council has
no budget, except goods and services of less than $6,000 a year,
provided by the international SIKH organization.

We wonder where the Council of Kalistan gets its operating
funds. More important though is the leadership structure of the
Council. In 1988, Mr. Aleck said he was appointed by the President
of the Council of Kalistan in 1987 by the five-member ponta com-
mittee of the Council of Kalistan.

Mr. Chairman, the State Department's report patterns of global
terrorism states that "SIKH terrorism is sponsored by expatriate
and Indian SIKH groups. Many of these groups operate under um-
brella organizations, the most significant of which is the second
ponta committee."

An article in the Indian Express of October 8, 1987, which Mr.
Aleck attached to his first Foreign Agent Registration filing, the
Council is composed of several known SIKH terrorists, including
Mr. Satana Singh Pontanata of the group Dowcowsa who hijacked
an Indian Airlines airplane.

The article also states that the managing apparatus of the Coun-
cil of Kalistan is comprised, among others, of a group known as
Babar Cowsa, which has claimed responsibility for the assassina-



24

tion of the Punjab Chief Minister, Bian Singh and 12 others in
downtown Bangergour.

Secretary Raphel, I have two general questions. Let me just ask
both of them and then if you would answer both of them the re-
mainder of the 5 minutes.

First, considering the volatile situation in the whole subconti-
nent, is the United States concerned about the India Express re-
port of ties between the Council of Kalistan and known terrorist or-
ganizations?

Second, do these reports suggest to you that the Council of
Kalistan and Babar Cowsa work to undermine stability in the Pun-
jab region of India?

Ms. Raphel. Let me comment generally. I do not want to speak
in any detail about the activities of the Council of Kalistan, be-
cause I am not intimately familiar with them.

Obviously we are concerned about any acts of terrorism and
groups that support terrorism, but I cannot comment specifically.
If you would like, I can take the question and do some research on
it.

I would say about the Punjab in general that the levels of vio-
lence have been way down in recent years. Obviously an exception
was the recent assassination of Chief Minister Bian Singh. My
hope is that that is the end of an era rather than the beginning
of another one.

There are some problems that continue there of a human rights
nature, one of them being the disappearance of a human rights
worker called Jaswat Singh Kowra.

The National Human Rights Commission in India has been in-
vestigating that and we are following that case and looking into
that case and have raised it with the government of India.

But by and large, the militancy, the excesses on the part of the
police all have died down tremendously in the last couple of years.

Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman, one other question briefly.

Madam Secretary, a few months ago I asked you about what I
thought was an omission in the State Department country reports.
You assured me that you would look into the matter of the Pandat
people in Kashmir and why their plight is not mentioned in the re-
ports.

Can you bring our subcommittee up to date on what you have
done to look into that and to include it in the country report?

Ms. Raphel. When we say that a resolution of the Kashmir issue
needs to take into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people, we
mean all the people of Kashmir, whether they are Muslims or Hin-
dus, whether they are from the valley, whether they are from
Ladakh or Jammu. All the people of Kashmir. I think that distinc-
tion is often missed and misunderstood from what we have said.

Second, we have indeed looked into the situation of the Pandats.
We actually have periodically looked into it, visited the camps and
so on.

In the upcoming human rights report an assessment of their sit-
uation will be included. The report will come out early next year.

Mr. Brown. Thank you.

Mr. Bereuter. I thank the gentleman.



25

The gentleman from North Carolina, member of the full commit-
tee, has joined us today. We are pleased to have him for his ques-
tions.

Mr. Funderburk. Thank you very much.

Secretary Raphel, it is my understanding that Pakistani Prime
Minister Bhutto was in Tehran for a visit with Iranian President
Rafsanjani on the very day that Israel was burying its slain Prime
Minister.

What was the purpose of her visit and what is the United States
supposed to make of the timing of this visit?

Second, speaking of Pakistan and its relationship with Iran, I
note that in February, 1994, Pakistan conducted joint naval exer-
cises with Iran. Which other countries have conducted such mili-
tary exercises with the Iranians since the fall of the Shah?

Ms. Raphel. Let me first repeat our policy, which is to encourage
all countries and including those in South Asia, to help in the effort
to isolate Iran. So Pakistan, India and all countries in the region
are very much aware of that policy.

As for Pakistan, they share a border with Iran. They believe that
they need to have cordial relations with Iran. They are more re-
cently concerned about developing the Indian relationship with
Tehran.

Also recently their interests have come to blows, both in Afghani-
stan and in central Asia. I know from my recent travels in Paki-
stan and discussions with officials that they have been particularly
concerned about their tensions over Afghanistan.

It is my understanding that that was one of the key things on
the agenda when Prime Minister Bhutto went to Tehran in early
November.

Mr. Riedel. Let me address the question about naval exercises.
Pakistan has conducted what we regarded to be an extremely low
level naval exercise. Communications between ships at sea pri-
marily.

They have postponed a second exercise. I can also say that we
have raised this matter with the Pakistani Government, both here
and in Washington and urged them to cease this activity.

As for other countries, India and Iran have indicated publicly
that they plan on holding a naval exercise and we have also raised
that question with the Indian Government.

I will have to check and see if any other governments have held
naval exercises with Iran in the last 15 years. I do know that sev-
eral of the Gulf states have had Iranian naval vessels do official
port visits and the Iranians sometimes have characterized those as
exercises.

[The information follows:]

During the last 15 years, Iran has participated in naval exercises with the follow-
ing countries: Pakistan, India, Oman and the UAE.

Mr. Funderburk. OK Pakistan does not recognize Israel and
participates in the Arab boycott of Israel. Do you have any indica-
tions of any changes in that?

Ms. Raphel. This is an issue which we raise regularly with the
Pakistanis. Bearing in mind the sensitivities of their Muslim popu-
lation and the coalition partners to the current government, they



26

have been conservative and in our view a bit slow in moving to rec-
ognize Israel.

We had urged them early on to be in the forefront of countries
that took that step and sadly it looks like they are going to be
among the latter.

Mr. Funderburk. Thank you.

Mr. Berkuter. I thank the gentleman.

For a final question, I turn to the gentleman from California.

Mr. Berman. In terms of Iran and these countries, I have heard
something about a pipeline deal between Iran and Pakistan and
India all coming together on a pipeline which would provide Ira-
nian oil to these countries. Do you know about that?

Ms. RAPHEL. There are lots of pipeline plans in the region. To my
knowledge, none of them have yet to come to fruition. There are
talks about pipelines from Turkmanistan through Afghanistan to
Pakistan and possibly on to India. From Iran through Pakistan and
on to India.

Lots of talk. Lots of gas and oil to be exploited, but no deals have
come through. I think part of the reason that this could all be slow
in happening on the Iran side is of course our own prohibition
against U.S. companies participating in any such deal.

Mr. Berman. That is not the subject of this hearing. There are
other companies in other countries that seem quite happy to step
up to the plate.

In this particular area, oil and gas is how Iran gets the currency
to buy the technologies, to develop the missiles and nuclear bombs
and finance the terrorism and destabilize things and buy offensive
weapons capability to scare the other gulf countries.

So I just hope we are watching those things particularly, I mean
not to diminish the importance of these exercises, but particularly
those that provide them with that foreign currency to do that or
enhance their ability to get that foreign currency. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman.

Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you.

I want to thank our distinguished witnesses for their time today
for the responses to our question. We have, I feel, barely scratched
the surface and we have focused understandably mostly on India
and Pakistan.

There are a number of questions that members undoubtedly
would like to submit for you in writing and I would appreciate it
if they could be responded to. I will have some myself.

Mr. Andrews specifically mentioned he has a conflict here and
will be submitting one written question to you two panelists.
Thank you very much for your attendance.

Ms. Raphe l. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Riedel. Thank you.

Mr. Bereuter. We will now call forward the second panel. As we
do that, I want to make it clear that the Chairman's intention is
that we improve relationships with Pakistan and India.

I do not think at all they are mutually exclusive and that has
been my long-term and continuing objective.

The second panel consists of very able and well qualified experts
on South Asian security issues. Professor Robert Wirsing, from the
Department of Government and International Affairs at the Uni-



27

versity of South Carolina has an extensive record of publications on
India-Pakistan political and security affairs and has traveled to the
region for research on numerous occasions.

Mr. Michael Krepon is president of the Henry L. Stimson Center
and an expert on confidence-building measures and other mecha-
nisms for preventing conflict, with an extensive publication record.

By coincidence, on November 30 Mr. Krepon published a very
timely and articulate article in the Washington Post, which argues
that preventive diplomacy in South Asia should be an urgent prior-
ity of the U.S. Government.

Last, but certainly not least, we will hear from Dr. George
Tanham, a retired vice president of the RAND Corporation who
continues to serve as a consultant on projects related to today's
hearing.

Earlier this year, Dr. Tanham completed a RAND study of the
Indian air force and he has recently spent several weeks in both
India and Pakistan as a part of his ongoing research on regional
security affairs.

In addition, another invited witness who was committed else-
where, Dr. George Perkovich of the W. Alton Jones Foundation has
taken the trouble to write me and convey what he would have said
had he been able to be here today.

If there is no objection, I would like to insert Dr. Perkovich's let-
ter in the hearing record, provided Dr. Perkovich also has no objec-
tion.

[The letter appears in the appendix.]

Mr. Bereuter. On behalf of my colleagues I want to thank all
of you for taking a lot of time out of your day to be here to testify.
We look forward to your testimony.

Your entire statements will be made a part of the record. I would
ask if you would try to summarize in approximately 5 or 6 minutes
each and then we would like to have an opportunity to engage in
a little questioning of the witnesses.

Thank you very much. I think we will turn first to Dr. Wirsing.
You may proceed.

STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT G. WIRSING, PROFESSORвАФ DE-
PARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL STUD-
ffiS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Dr. Wirsing. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the invita-
tion to appear before the subcommittee and to offer my testimony
in regard to the security situation in South Asia.

I prepared a fairly lengthy statement and so I will confine myself
to some parts of it which I think have some pertinence to the re-
marks that we have already heard today.

One thing one quickly notices at a hearing on South Asia is a
rather high level of frustration with the Administration's efforts
over the years to persuade these two countries, India and Pakistan,
to overcome their differences and to proceed toward the next cen-
tury with a somewhat friendlier relationship.

Complaints are made about human rights violations by Indian
security forces in Kashmir and elsewhere. We also hear complaints
about Pakistan's infiltration of what India regards as terrorists
into the valley of Kashmir.



36-492 97-2



28

We have heard complaints too about India and Pakistan's inabil-
ity to successfully negotiate, for instance, even over an uninhabited
stretch of Kashmir, the Siachen Glacier, in spite of the fact of hay-
ing spent some 6 years or so engaged in on and off negotiations in
regard to it.

I would like to offer some reasons to explain why these two coun-
tries are constrained from doing what we believe they ought to do
for their long-range security.

To begin, the domestic political circumstances that both countries
face, place their governments under enormous handicaps that are
not easily avoided.

One reason for this that I offer in my prepared statement is the
widening political instability that is found throughout South Asia
and certainly in Pakistan and India.

By instability, I mean a number of things. One is the fact that
the governments come and go. Another is that these governments
face on both sides of the border an assortment of ethnic, linguistic
and tribal upheavals that keep these countries in constant turmoil,
faced with acts of terrorism and so forth.

Whatever country you are investigating in South Asia, you find
the governments tend to be weak. India and Pakistan are now both
more or less functioning parliamentary democracies. Nevertheless,
in both cases, the governments face strong opposition and have
great difficulty in hanging on to their wafer thin majorities in the
Parliament.

This situation, I believe, is very deeply rooted in the politics of
the subcontinent and is not going to disappear in the near future.

Indeed it may grow worse, and I suspect then that our frustra-
tions will be heard here again at future hearings. In India, for ex-
ample, this question of political stability is of obviously enormous
interest, because if the region's democratic parliamentary institu-
tions are to survive into the next century, they must certainly sur-
vive in this most pivotal of all the region's states.

But in the election that is expected to be held at the end of April,
1996, India's 11th general election, most predictions are that we
are likely to get a hung Parliament, with the ruling Congress party
receiving even less political support than it has in earlier elections.

The Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP,
just within the last 10 days has had a sweeping victory of local mu-
nicipal polls in the key state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous
state in India, with 140,000,000 population. It would be a very
large nation if it were independent.

That is just one more of a whole lot of signs that have come
along in the last year or so that the Congress party, which has
given a certain amount of continuity and stability to India over the
past 48 years, may be on its last legs.

But at the same time there is no sign on the horizon that there
is any party in India with the strength to acquire a majority of the
vote or a majority of the seats in the Parliament.

So, it may very well be that in the years ahead, we are going to
face an even weaker government in India, a government that is
even less able than the one at present to take the kinds of steps
we think are necessary to improve relations with Pakistan and to
enhance general regional security.



29

It is well to bear in mind in this connection that Prime Minister
Narasimha Rao's effort to hold state assembly elections in Kash-
mir, which I believe is an absolutely genuine and sincere effort on
his part, has so far come to naught.

Indeed, the concessions that he offered to the Kashmiris in order
to bring them on board these elections were quite modest. For in-
stance, he offered to allow the Chief Minister of the state to bear
the designation of Prime Minister, rather than Chief Minister.

That, of course, is hardly a gesture. It is purely symbolic. That
wouldn't truly restore the autonomy of the state of Jammu and
Kashmir. But even that was too much for the political opposition
in India, which immediately shouted that India would then be the
only country in the world with two Prime Ministers.

So, the Prime Minister of India has an enormous difficulty in
making even the smallest gestures that might entice the Kashmiris
to move toward some kind of settlement with India.

The other aspect of the domestic political circumstances which I
would mention, and which I think is characteristic of and likely to
continue in South Asia, is the prominence of what I call identity
politics.

By identity politics, I mean the politics of ethnicity, race, tribal-
ism and of course religion. In the subcontinent, I believe that reli-
gious identity politics, religious nationalism, now figures at the top
of the political agendas of practically every state.

This statement certainly applies in Pakistan, which is a self-des-
ignated Islamic republic. This is so in spite of the fact that over the
past 48 years the hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan have never
attained control of the government and, indeed, in the most recent
1993 election did very, very poorly, receiving about 3 percent of the
popular vote.

Nevertheless, in a country where Islam evokes very powerful re-
ligious emotions, the religious and Islamic issues, of which Kash-
mir is a very obvious one, are extremely powerful and could at
some point in the future cause an upsurge in the importance of Is-
lamic identity in Pakistan's politics.

Of course, should it happen that in April 1996 the right wing
Hindu nationalist party (BJP) comes to power in India, perhaps as
part of a coalition, or even should it merely increase its present
margin of seats in the Lok Sabha (and it is now the most powerful
opposition party), that is certainly likely to inject more identity pol-
itics, more Hindu-Muslim antagonism, into Indian politics than is
now there.

I will close here and will welcome any questions in this regard.

[The prepared statement of Dr. Wirsing appears in the appen-
dix.]

Mr. Bereuter. Thank you very much, Dr. Wirsing. Your written
statement is very interesting and we are not going to ignore its
contents, but we thank you for your summary statement.

Next we call on Mr. Michael Krepon, the president of the Henry
L. Stimson Center. Welcome. You may proceed.

STATEMENT OF MR. MICHAEL KREPON, PRESIDENT, THE
HENRY L. STIMSON CENTER

Mr. Krepon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



30

This is a very troubled region. The two hearing topics that you
have set up, security issues and economic issues, fit together nicely.

The trend lines in this region are negative. The more that ten-
sions increase, the more that nuclear dangers increase, the more
impact will be felt on economic development, on trade and on in-
vestment. So I am glad you are holding these hearings.

Assistant Secretary Raphel told you in her testimony that rela-
tions are bad and unlikely to improve. What she did not tell you,
but which you can reasonably infer from her testimony, is that re-
lations are likely to worsen and there are very slight prospects in
the near term that things will get better.

Because of elections in India, as Professor Wirsing has said, any
Indian gestures toward reconciliation toward Pakistan are not in
the cards now. Any significant gestures.

In India, the Prime Minister has proposed small gestures, which
Pakistan has rejected. Pakistan does not have an election sched-
uled until 1998.

The current Pakistani Prime Minister is making no effort that I
am aware of to improve relations with India. Indeed, she has pur-
sued a conscious policy of closing down lines of communication with
India.

They still talk to one another about narcotics, but that is about
it. The government of Pakistan has to make a decision whether or
not closing down bilateral relations with India over the dispute sur-
rounding Kashmir is in the government of Pakistan's national secu-
rity interests.

This is a fundamental question. I am deeply disturbed by the line
taken by this government of Pakistan. These two countries are not
taking steps to address their threat perceptions, to ameliorate their
threat perceptions in a positive way.

They are taking steps to make those threat perceptions even
worse. They are on the verge of deploying new nuclear capable bal-
listic missiles.

Pakistan is on the verge of resuming production of weapons-
grade fissionable material. It has frozen this program for several
years. India has not. India continues to produce.

It is very clear from their behavior in Geneva at the Conference
on Disarmament that both countries are leaving open options, rath-
er than facilitating the prompt conclusion of treaties that they say
they are all in favor of.

So we have real problems in this region and they have real prob-
lems in this region. One of the problems is that this hearing that
you have set up will be interpreted by the media in India and Paki-
stan in very, very negative ways, as you know.

The reason for this hearing, according to Indian press com-
mentary, will be that the United States is preparing to meddle in
Indian affairs.

That is the line that will be taken as a result of this hearing. It
is not that the United States is greatly concerned about security
and stability on the subcontinent. No. We are laying the ground-
work to meddle.

So if they do not recognize and acknowledge the problem and in-
stead twist the problem into a very different shape, namely U.S.



31

intervention, that gives you a sense of the kind of roadblocks we
face here.

Because states in the region are not willing or able to take big
steps, important steps, it seems to me the only thing that the Unit-
ed States can suggest to the countries in the region is that they
take small steps.

The small steps that might reasonably be taken, which are in
their own national security interests, are to repair the escalation


1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterU.S. interests in South Asia : hearings before the Subcommittees on International Economic Policy and Trade and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first and second session, December 5, 1995 and April 18, 1996 → online text (page 4 of 19)