Feasible deals with India and Pakistan after the nuclear tests: The Glenn sanctions and U.S. negotiations

Clifford E Singer, Jyotika Saksena, Milind Thakar

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The automatic imposition of generic economic sanctions on Pakistan and India following their nuclear weapons tests in May 1998 presented the U.S. administration and Congress with a headache. Fully implemented, the sanctions-named for their strongest U.S. Senate supporter, John Glenn-would hinder both short-term commercial interests and development and cordial international relations with longer-term trade implications. Within six months of the tests, sanctions implementation effectively had been put on hold pending the outcome of negotiations that might lead to understandings to be announced before a conference on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) targeted for September 1999. It remained to be revealed, however, whether the current U.S. administration could actually achieve such understandings, particularly within such a short time frame. It is thus worth examining what types of 'deal' are feasible concerning the Glenn Sanctions, which have featured so prominently in the intervening negotiations. Here, the likelihood of three possible outcomes of current negotiations on sanctions pursuant to Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests is examined. A trade-off of removal of generic economic sanctions for simple accession to the CTBT has political appeal for the U.S. administration and economic advantages for India, but may be difficult to sell to domestic constituencies in both countries. A fallback option might include cooperation with the CTBT organization and greater transparency of controls on export of nuclear technology by India, Pakistan, or both. A sustained onslaught of U.S. commercial interests against sanctions without substantive international agreement is also a possibility. The present article analyzes the process of narrowing the gap between what may actually be achievable vs. wishes and expectations for deals on generic economic sanctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1178
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Survey
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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