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Pallone Opposes U.S. Designation of Pakistan as a "Major Non-NATO Ally"

March 30, 2004
Press Release

"Mr. Speaker, I rise on the House floor this evening to discuss Pakistan's recent designation as a 'major non-NATO ally.'

"Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell visited India and Pakistan to support the efforts that have been made by both nations to seek peace. For the first time in decades, relations between India and Pakistan were easing and as a result, confidence-building measures (CBMs) were being established, such as transportation across the border and cricket games between the countries.

"Although both countries are on a slow, yet steady path for improved economic, defense and political relations, unfortunately that balance has been damaged by the Bush administration's favorable treatment of Pakistan in naming it a 'major non-NATO ally.'

"Mr. Speaker, although we have advocated for the U.S. to view India and Pakistan as two separate, distinct nations, at the same time we have advocated for fair treatment based on record of democracy, commitment to ending terrorism, and a variety of values important to the United States. India is a strong, vibrant democracy of over 50 years and Pakistan is a rogue nation under military rule. India's nuclear program is civilian controlled and Pakistan's nuclear program was sold to nations such as Libya, Iran and North Korea to assist illegal, covert nuclear weapons programs. India is protecting its citizens from terrorism in Kashmir and Pakistan is sponsoring terrorist activity in its own backyard.

"It seems clear that the U.S. and India are natural allies based on our shared values. The reason why the U.S. and Pakistan are now allies is a result of the shared effort to end global terrorism. However, based on all of the reasons I just stated above, I am taken aback by the new designation that the U.S. has bestowed upon Pakistan as a 'major non-NATO ally.' Not only was I surprised, but India as a nation was surprised as well. Secretary Powell had just met with India's leaders, but he did not mention the new status of Pakistan that was to soon be announced.

"Naming Pakistan 'major non-NATO ally' is completely inconsistent with U.S. policies. Pakistan is not a democratic nation, Pakistan supports terrorism in Kashmir, and Pakistan has engaged in nuclear activity for which it has recently pardoned the key scientist who aided covert nuclear programs in rogue nations. The results of this new designation will be devastating.

"Not only was India surprised and disappointed, but further, Pakistan's new role will lead to severe implications in the South Asian region. It is unclear what the title 'major non-NATO ally' means in legal terms, but the most immediate concern is that a rapid and large-scale supply of American military equipment will flow from the U.S. to Pakistan, including the possibility of F-16s. In accordance with the Pressler Amendment of 1990, Pakistan was not afforded major military supplies until post 9/11, in which case specific counter-terrorism supplies have been provided.

"This is very concerning because U.S. military supplies that were given to Pakistan for use against Russia and China have been historically used against India. Given the current climate of the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, any additional weapons provided to Pakistan will likely be used to escalate this conflict between the two nations and has the potential to build up a full-scale arms war.

"In addition, this new designation has the impetus for breaking down negotiations and peace talks between the two nations that have just gotten underway. Pakistan's newly established access to U.S. military supplies will serve as an impediment to any further Indo-Pak talks.

"Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand why the U.S. has afforded Pakistan MNNA status. Pakistan has a history of abusing military and nuclear equipment, and yet we are allowing them to have access to depleted uranium ammunition, special privilege in bidding for certain U.S. government contracts, radar systems, attack helicopters and airborne early warning systems.

"In exchange for Pakistan's assistance to the U.S. in the war against terrorism, the U.S. has already allocated $3 billion worth of assistance, half of which is directed towards Pakistan to buy military equipment from the U.S. The Bush Administration must re-evaluate their policies towards Pakistan -- the new designation of MNNA is unfair, inappropriate and most importantly, dangerous given the volatile nature of the South Asia region."