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|June 10, 1999||
US Senate passes amendment to ease sanctions
C K Arora in Washington
The United States' Senate has passed an amendment, seeking to suspend for five years all economic sanctions that the Clinton administration had slapped on India and Pakistan last year in protest against their nuclear tests.
The World Bank will resume funding for India's infrastructural projects, if the measure, approved in the Senate by a voice-vote on Tuesday, becomes law. The bank has so far withheld India's loan requests for over $ 1.2 billion, affecting its growth prospects.
The amendment, which stood in the name of Republican senators -- Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts -- allows loans and financial or technical assistance by international financial institutions which include the World Bank.
It provides President Clinton with a national security waiver for sales of defence articles, defence services, foreign military financing and dual use technologies which are not primarily used for missile development or nuclear weapons programmes.
These sales will, however, remain subject to congressional review procedures.
The amendment allows US economic assistance, though this is limited to support non-government organisations, democracy or establishment of democratic institutions and humanitarian assistance.
It also permits international and US funding for military education and training programme, peacekeeping operations, credit guarantees or other financial assistance.
The amendment provides for loans and financial or technical assistance by international financial institutions. US banks may make loans or provide credit to the governments of India and Pakistan.
Along with the amendment, the Senate adopted a non-binding document, Sense of the Senate which seeks to repeal the 1985 Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment which imposed on Islamabad the same sanctions, before the Glenn Amendment was invoked against the nuclear tests of the two countries.
Under the amendment, the president had to submit a report to Congress within 60 days of enactment listing those Indian and Pakistani entities whose activities contribute directly to missile programmes or weapons of mass destruction programmes.
It says the present Entities List requires refinement. Entities should only be on that list if they make direct and material contribution to weapons of mass destruction and missile programmes.
The document seeks to deny sales of defence articles, defence services, foreign military financing, if any of the two countries, India or Pakistan, ''initiates or supports activities that jeopardise peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir.''
The administration currently has the authority to waive for one year some of the economic sanctions of India and Pakistan --authority awarded by similar legislation authored last year by the two senators.
''This legislation is critical if we are to continue building trade in this region. Unilateral trade sanctions are strangling our own economy without achieving their goal,'' senator Roberts said. ''It is apparent that unilateral sanctions have not worked. Our legislation provides a better way of dealing with these two important nations.''
Senator Brownback said, ''This will allow the United States to move forward with a broad-based relationship with both India and Pakistan.
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