'N-proliferation views must be realistic'

WASHINGTON, JULY 12. Nuclear non-proliferation should be viewed realistically, with the United States moving away from testing, said Mr. Paul Wolfowitz, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Wolfowitz, one of the foreign policy advisors of the likely Republican nominee, Mr. George W. Bush, was participating in a panel discussion on `U.S.-India relations in the 21st century' organised by the Indian American Forum for Political Education.

Mr. Wolfowitz's argued Washington should move away from excessive focus on testing and explore ways of guiding the competition among nuclear nations to safer routes. He called for arms control mechanisms for India and Pakistan. China, he said, was not a strategic partner of the U.S., but was a strategic competitor. Mr. Wolfowitz said the challenge was bringing China to play a peaceful role in East Asia, and that the strategic importance of East Asia meant taking India into account.

On Kashmir, Mr. Wolfowitz said a peaceful solution would mean a great deal to India and Pakistan as also to New Delhi's standing in the world. The U.S. would not play a role unless its participation was sought by the two sides.

On the issue of sanctions, he said there was a tendency in the Executive to see them as a substitute for policy and in the context of India and Pakistan, they had not accomplished a great deal.

India had been the ``black hole'' of the U.S foreign policy, but there was a sea change now. The turnaround had to do with the disappearance of negative factors - the one-time strong relations between India and the then Soviet Union and a fundamental change in North-South relations, among other things.

Mr. Wolfowitz stressed that focus of external relationship, especially in the context of India and the U.S., should be on the bilateral-strong relationship that would encompass economic, technical and cultural; both countries were multi-ethnic democracies. Thhe goal of the U.S., in search of peace in Asia, was not to play the India card against China. In the context of multi-ethnic democracies, Mr. Wolfowitz said religious intolerance was a matter of concern.

Mr. Wolfowitz made it clear that he was not speaking on behalf of the Bush campaign. His views on non-proliferation and the future trends in Washington's relationships with countries such as India, however, give an indication of the thinking in a potential Republican administration. Mr. Marc Ginsberg, Chairman of the Vice-President, Mr. Albert Gore's National Security Advisory Panel, and Mr.Donald Camp, Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, also participated.