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|March 20, 1999||
Brownback pilots bill in Senate to suspend sanctions for five years
C K Arora in Washington
Senate's South Asia Sub-committee chairman Sam Brownback (Republican) and seven other lawmakers have introduced a bill, seeking to suspend for five years economic sanctions that the United States had imposed on India and Pakistan after their nuclear tests in May 1998.
The relaxation of the sanctions will automatically follow if the bill is passed by the senate, sources said.
They, however, made it clear that this would not ensure the flow of high-tech to the two countries that they covet most.
It may restore the position that existed before India and Pakistan had conducted the tests. The export of high-tech is linked to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which they have not signed so far, they said.
But it will restore funding to the two countries from the international lending institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Senator Brownback had also been the author of a similar measure which empowered President Clinton to waive the sanctions for one year. Under this provision, Clinton ordered some relaxation last year.
Since the new bill has the backing of democrats and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, its passage is guaranteed.
The bill appears to be more favourable to Pakistan as it also seeks to repeal the Pressler Amendment under which the United States had banned economic and military aid to Pakistan in October 1990 in protest against its nuclear weapons programme in the 1980s. The US aid to Pakistan had been of the order of about $ 650 million a year.
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