- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2000

South Asia security

Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has warned that her country will build a nuclear arsenal if India continues to increase its armed forces, which are already many times larger than Pakistan's.

Miss Lodhi, in a recent speech, also complained that India is trying to become a nuclear rival to China and a superpower in South Asia.

And she urged the United States to avoid feeding India's ambitions and adopt a more balanced foreign policy in the region.

"We, for our part, cannot ignore India's own, professed objectives and ambitions to emerge as a global nuclear power equal to China, to dominate South Asia politically and economically, to control the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean," she told a workshop on South Asia last week.

Addressing the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs, Miss Lodhi predicted that her country will respond if India's military buildup continues.

"The imbalance against Pakistan in conventional capabilities is inherently destabilizing," she said.

India's army is more than twice the size of Pakistan's. India's air force is five times larger, and its navy is seven times larger. India justifies its military expenditures as a means of dealing with what is a perceived threat from China.

"If India continues in its conventional arms buildup, Pakistan will be compelled to respond," Miss Lodhi said.

"We will not be foolish enough to be dragged into matching India's huge and growing military expenditures. Instead, Pakistan will have to enhance its reliance on its nuclear and missile capabilities to ensure against the threat of conventional aggression or attack by India.

"The danger of nuclear use will inevitably increase exponentially."

Miss Lodhi thanked President Clinton for his recent visit to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, saying the "U.S. interest in South Asia is welcome and overdue."

However, she urged Mr. Clinton to develop a more balanced policy toward the region. Pakistan believes U.S. policy tilts toward India for strategic reasons.

"In our view, the U.S. should also not succumb to simplistic constructs for its policy; for example, the utility of strategic partnership with India to neutralize China in any future Sino-U.S. competition in Asia," said Miss Lodhi.

"That, in our view, would be a recipe for engendering a new Cold War and conflictual rather than cooperative trends.

"The overall objective of the U.S. in the multipolar, globalized world should be to promote and preserve friendly and cooperative relations with all major power sources and centers, rather than contemplating scenarios of containing or neutralizing one or more of them with the collaboration of others."She urged the United States to develop a "security architecture" for India and Pakistan around "four pillars."Washington should promote "nuclear restraint," conventional arms control, peaceful resolution of conflicts and economic and social development in Pakistan and India.

Million-dollar minute

Canadian Ambassador Raymond Chretien knows how to illustrate the massive trade between Canada and the United States so the average person can understand it.

He told a recent business forum in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, that the two countries do $1.5 billion in trade every day.

To make that figure comprehensible, he said, "That's more than $1 million a minute. There is no other relationship of that kind on our planet."

Mr. Chretien also urged Canadians to embrace even deeper economic contacts with the United States.

"We have to harness economic integration in our favor," he said.

He noted Canada's brain-drain problem of professionals immigrating to the United States for higher-paying jobs.

"The American standard of living has simply skyrocketed in the last five years," he said. "We cannot ignore that."

Mr. Chretien, ambassador here since 1994, also gave his audience some figures that demonstrate the vast difference between government spending in both countries

The Pentagon's budget of $408 billion is three times larger than the budget for the entire Canadian government, he said.

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