US embassy cable - 98STATE62472

PAKISTAN: GHAURI FLIGHT TEST

Identifier: 98STATE62472
Wikileaks: View 98STATE62472 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1998-04-08 00:28:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PREL PARM PK
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O P 080028Z APR 98
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 
INFO AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 
JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY 0000
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
S E C R E T STATE 062472 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/08 
TAGS: PREL, PARM, PK 
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN: GHAURI FLIGHT TEST 
 
CLASSIFIED BY KARL F. INDERFURTH, ASSISTANT SECRETARY. 
REASON: 1.5  (D) 
 
1.  (S) SUMMARY. A/S INDERFURTH EXPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT AT 
PAKISTAN'S FLIGHT TEST OF ITS GHAURI MISSILE, AND CONCERN 
AT ITS POSSIBLE IMPACT ON RESUMPTION OF TALKS WITH INDIA. 
HE URGED PAKISTAN TO CONVEY DIRECTLY TO THE NEW INDIAN 
GOVERNMENT ITS POSITION THAT THE TEST WAS NOT A REACT TON TO 
THE NEW BJP GOVERNMENT AND ITS PRONOUNCEMENTS ON THE 
"NUCLEAR OPTION." HE ALSO MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE USG HAS 
BEEN EVALUATING THE POSSIBLE REQUIREMENT TO IMPOSE US 
MISSILE SANCTIONS FOR IMPORTS RELATED TO THE GHAURI. IN 
PARA 8 ARE POINTS EMBASSY ISLAMABAD SHOULD MAKE ON THE 
GHAURI MISSILE.  END SUMMARY 
 
2.  (U) THIS IS AN ACTION CABLE. SEE PARA 8. 
 
3.  (C) AFTER PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR KHOKHAR ON APRIL 6 TOLD 
A/S INDERFURTH APRIL 6 OF THE RELEASE OF DEA EMPLOYEE AYYAZ 
BALUCH  (SEPTEL), HE HANDED OVER THE GOP PRESS RELEASE ON 
THE FLIGHT TEST OF THE GHAURI MISSILE EARLIER THAT DAY. 
INDERFURTH TOLD KHOKHAR THAT WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT 
PAKISTAN HAD FELT IT NECESSARY TO TAKE THIS ACTION. HE 
POINTED OUT THAT WE HAVE BEEN URGING BOTH INDIA AND 
PAKISTAN TO REFRAIN FROM ANY ACTIONS THAT COULD BE SEEN BY 
THE OTHER AS PROVOCATIVE.   HE EXPRESSED CONCERN AT HOW 
THIS WOULD AFFECT THE RESUMPTION OF THE INDO-PAKISTANI 
DIALOGUE AND THE PROGRESS THE TWO COUNTRIES COULD MAKE IN 
IMPROVING RELATIONS. 
 
4. (C) INDERFURTH SAID THAT WE WOULD URGE THE GOVERNMENT OF 
INDIA NOT TO REACT.   HE ADDED THAT WE ALSO HOPE, NOW THAT 
PAKISTAN HAS DEMONSTRATED ITS CAPABILITY, THAT IT WOULD NOW 
REFRAIN FROM ANY FURTHER SUCH TESTS. 
 
5. (C) KHOKHAR SAID,  IN REFERENCE TO INDO-PAKISTANI 
RELATIONS, THAT PM NAWAZ SHARIF'S LETTER TO INCOMING PM 
VAJPAYEE WAS VERY UPBEAT.  HE ADDED THAT THE FLIGHT TEST 
HAD BEEN "IN THE PIPELINE" AND WAS NOT A REACTION TO THE 
NEW BJP GOVERNMENT IN DELHI. WHEN CHALLENGED WHETHER THE 
GOP HAD MADE THIS POINT DIRECTLY TO INDIA, KHOKHAR CLAIMED 
THAT PAKISTAN DID NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH 
INDIA.   INDERFURTH STRONGLY ENCOURAGED PAKISTAN TO SEND A 
REASSURING MESSAGE TO VAJPAYEE. 
 
6. (S) INDERFURTH NOTED THAT THE GOP PRESS RELEASE HAD 
REFERRED TO THE GHAURI AS AN INDIGENOUS PROGRAM, AND STATED 
OUR VIEW THAT IT WAS NOT ENTIRELY INDIGENOUS. HE POINTED 
OUT THAT AMBASSADOR SIMONS HAD RAISED PREVIOUSLY WITH THE 
GOP (NOTE: DECEMBER 24 WITH COAS KARAMAT, FEBRUARY 10 WITH 
FONSEC AHMED, AND FEBRUARY 24 WITH ANWAR ZAHID) OUR 
CONCERNS ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY 
RELATED TO THE GHAURI. THIS, HE SAID, RAISES THE SPECTRE 
OF SANCTIONABLE ACTIVITY.  HE SAID THAT THE USG IS AT THE 
LATE STAGE OF OUR REVIEW OF THE APPLICABILITY OF MISSILE 
SANCTIONS UNDER US LAW, AND STRESSED THAT THIS REVIEW 
PREDATES THE GHAURI FLIGHT TEST. HE ASKED KHOKHAR TO 
PROVIDE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THE GOP COULD PROVIDE. 
 
7. (C) INDERFURTH TURNED TO THE PAKISTANI LETTERS TO THE 
PRESIDENT AND THE SECRETARY LAST WEEK ON SOUTH ASIAN 
SECURITY. HE SAID THAT IT IS THE USG VIEW THAT THE GOL 
LANGUAGE (ON THE "OPTION TO INDUCT NUCLEAR WEAPONS") THAT 
PAKISTAN FOUND SO DISTURBING DID NOT SUGGEST A NEW 
THRESHOLD HAD BEEN CROSSED. HE STRESSED THAT WE HAD BEEN 
STRONGLY URGING THE GOL NOT TO PROCEED IN THIS DIRECTION. 
WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING PAKISTAN'S RIGHT TO TAKE ACTIONS BASED 
ON THEIR OWN SECURITY REQUIREMENTS, HE EXPRESSED THE HOPE 
THAT ACTIONS BEING TAKEN IN BOTH CAPITALS DO NOT RESULT IN 
DESTABILIZING THE REGION. 
 
8. (S) ACTION REQUESTED: EMBASSY SHOULD FOLLOW UP THIS 
DISCUSSION ON OUR REACTION TO THE MISSILE TEST AND ON THE 
PENDING ISSUE OF US MISSILE SANCTIONS, EMBASSY SHOULD MAKE 
THE FOLLOWING POINTS TO APPROPRIATE GOP COUNTERPARTS (I.E., 
THOSE WITH WHOM THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN DISCUSSED ON PREVIOUS 
OCCASIONS) : 
 
-- IN SECRETARY ALBRIGHT'S LETTER OF MARCH 20 TO THE PRIME 
MINISTER, SHE MADE VERY CLEAR OUR VIEWS REGARDING A FLIGHT 
TEST IN THIS TIME FRAME. ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE PARTICULARLY 
DISAPPOINTED AND REGRET THAT PAKISTAN FELT IT NECESSARY TO 
CONDUCT THE GHAURI FLIGHT TEST NOW. AS YOU KNOW, WE 
BELIEVE BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN SHOULD REFRAIN FROM ACTIONS 
THE OTHER COUNTRY WOULD FIND PROVOCATIVE. THIS IS 
ESSENTIAL IF THE TWO COUNTRIES ARE TO RESUME DISCUSSIONS 
AND MAKE PROGRESS IN IMPROVING RELATIONS. 
 
-- WE WELCOME THE CORDIAL TONE OF PM SHARIF'S LETTER TO THE 
INCOMING INDIAN PM. BUT ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, 
AND THIS IS THE FIRST MAJOR PAKISTANI ACTION SINCE THE 
SWEARING-IN OF THE NEW INDIAN GOVERNMENT. 
 
-- WE HAVE ADVISED THE INDIANS, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF 
THEIR OWN PREVIOUS MISSILE TESTS, NOT TO OVER-REACT TO 
PAKISTAN'S FLIGHT TEST. 
 
-- WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTACT THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 
DIRECTLY, AT A HIGH LEVEL, TO ALLAY ANY CONCERNS IT MAY 
HAVE ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF YOUR GHAURI TEST. 
 
-- SIMILARLY, NOW THAT PAKISTAN HAS DEMONSTRATED ITS 
CAPABILITY, WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL REFRAIN FROM FURTHER SUCH 
TESTS OR OTHER ACTIONS THAT COULD CONTRIBUTE TO HEIGHTENED 
TENSIONS. 
 
-- AS AMBASSADOR SIMONS PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED WITH YOU, THE 
USG HAS BEEN REVIEWING FOR SOME TIME WHETHER ACTIVITIES BY 
A PAKISTANI ENTITY RELATED TO THE ACQUISITION FROM FOREIGN 
SOURCES OF MTCR CATEGORY I MISSILES AND RELATED EQUIPMENT 
AND TECHNOLOGY REQUIRE THE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS UNDER US 
MISSILE SANCTIONS LAWS. WE ARE NEARING COMPLETION OF THE 
SANCTIONS REVIEW PROCESS IN THIS CASE AND EXPECT TO MAKE A 
DECISION SOON. 
 
-- I WANT TO STRESS THAT ANY SANCTIONS WOULD NOT BE 
TRIGGERED BY THE FLIGHT TEST, BUT BY THE ACQUISITION OF THE 
MISSILE AND RELATED EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY. 
 
 
ALBRIGHT 

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