I'm pleased to be able to follow up my meetings in Beijing with meetings in New Delhi. I especially welcome this opportunity to address this influential audience in the capital of the world's largest democracy.
Prime Minister Rao's visit to Washington in May showed the ascending arc of relations between our two countries. I am here to extend that arc -- to advance the agreement between President Clinton and Prime Minister Rao -- to explore ways in which India and the United States can cooperate on the global nonproliferation initiatives that are so vital to world security, and broaden the dialogue between us on the importance and methods of arms control.
I come here not to lecture, but to exchange ideas. And I bear in mind the adage that speeches in such circumstances are "forever poised between a cliché and an indiscretion."
Our differences on certain matters are well known. They will be neither papered over nor wholly resolved by this visit. But too often forgotten are the values we share and the common ideals we have brought before the world community. Prime Minister Rao noted a good example when he was in Washington -- the influence of your great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, on our great champion for civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King.
Two weeks ago I addressed the United Nations First Committee about the tremendous strides toward nuclear disarmament in the last few years. Let me now place those strides within the context of the aspirations voiced by our leaders, past as well as present.
The Arms Race and its Reversal
In June 1946, when the nuclear age was in its infancy, Bernard Baruch proposed at the UN the international control of atomic energy. The plan was rejected, and the world saw instead a nuclear arms race that lasted for almost five decades.
In the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union scaled the nuclear heights -- expending staggering resources and talent, risking human health and the environment, and making the perils of nuclear catastrophe a daily companion.
Now, at last, we are climbing down from that precipice. In recent years, in the INF and START treaties and in unilateral withdrawals of tactical nuclear weapons, the United States and the Soviet Union have met the world's pleas for an end to the arms race. Our race now is a far wiser one -- to bring down force levels as quickly and safely as possible.
In his June 1988 speech to the United Nations, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi called, among other things, for a 50 percent cut in Soviet and U.S. strategic arsenals; for a halt in production of weapons grade fissile materials; and for a moratorium on nuclear testing "to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test ban treaty."
In comparison, when START II is implemented, our strategic arsenals will be cut not by 50 percent, but by two-thirds. The U.S. and Russia, along with the U.K. and France, have observed a testing moratorium since September 1992; we deeply regret China's continued tests, and urge all countries to join us in calling for their termination. Meanwhile all five nuclear weapon states are committed to and actively engaged in negotiations for a comprehensive test ban, and are striving to begin negotiations on a fissile material cutoff.
Since 1988, when Prime Minister Gandhi spoke, the United States has reduced its active stockpile by 59 percent; our strategic warheads by 47 percent; our non-strategic nuclear force by a remarkable 90 percent. We are dismantling nuclear weapons at a rate of 2,000 a year. And the United States Nuclear Posture Review has recently confirmed that nuclear weapons now play a smaller role in our security strategy than at any time since their inception. And work on further steps is already underway During last month's summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin instructed their experts to intensify their dialogue on the possibility, after START II ratification, of further reductions in nuclear forces. They also agreed to step up the pace of START entry into force, and once START II is ratified, to deactivate all strategic nuclear delivery systems to be reduced under START.
So the world at last has seen its two leading nuclear powers make the transition from arms control -- constraining the arms race -- to actual disarmament -- sharp reductions in weapons and their means of delivery As President Clinton affirmed in May in the joint communiqué with Prime Minister Rao, we envision, ultimately, a world free of nuclear arms.
These American and Russian steps toward nuclear disarmament need reinforcement from all other states. On three major initiatives, the United States and India are cooperating effectively -- and I will be seeking further ways to collaborate during my visit.
CTBT: Concluding a comprehensive test ban treaty is an imperative for the United States -- a fact underscored on two occasions this year when I delivered personal messages from President Clinton to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The President's first message said that of all the matters on the CD agenda, "none is more important" than negotiating a CTBT "at the earliest possible time." And the second message stressed that "earliest possible time" means just what it says. We are doing everything we can to speed this effort to fruition. I know you share our desire for swift progress. India has been a vocal proponent of a test ban since 1954, when Prime Minister Nehru proposed it in a speech to the Indian Parliament. Your country then made a formal request to the UN for action by the Disarmament Commission. I am gratified that today we are united in the conviction that nuclear testing must end -- without exceptions, without artificial linkages, without delay We must make Prime Minister Nehru's vision a reality before the chance of our lifetimes has passed.
Fissile Cutoff: A second task awaiting the Conference on Disarmament is negotiating a worldwide ban on the production of fissile material for weapons. Last year the United Nations passed, by consensus, a resolution cosponsored by the United States and India recommending negotiation of a fissile material cutoff. As I said in my speech to the UN two weeks ago, the United States urges that resolution be affirmed, and we urge prompt adoption of a simple negotiating mandate by the Conference on Disarmament. The CD now needs to move decisively on this issue.
In the meantime, the U.S. is no longer producing fissile material for weapons. We have also voluntarily put more than ten tons of highly enriched uranium under international safeguards. And we would very much welcome similar decisions by other countries.
CWC: The Chemical Weapons Convention is another great arms control mission uniting India and the United States. India's support was instrumental in concluding the Convention. It will be no less important in bringing the Convention into force.
The CWC is before the United States Senate. I remain hopeful that the Senate will give its advice and consent soon -- and thus encourage ratification by scores of other states. The United States and India should both be among the original parties to the Convention.
The CWC embraces for us the central and fundamental truths about chemical agents designed to kill and maim in the cause of war: To make them is a waste; to keep them an affliction; to use them an abomination. Their banishment will make us at once more civilized and more secure.
NPT: I want to discuss one final global regime that is already in force, and on which our respective positions are well known. With nearly 170 adherents, the most of any arms control agreement in history, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, is a cornerstone of international security. It is a vital stimulus to the disarmament steps I have been discussing, because Article VI obligates all parties, including the nuclear weapon states, to pursue nuclear disarmament. At the same time it creates a condition essential for continued disarmament, by stemming the further spread of nuclear weapons
ministers. Participants include 18 countries with security interests in the region -- the six ASEAN countries, the United States, Japan, the European Union, Australia, South Korea, Russia and China. India, among other countries, has requested membership.
However tentatively, the ASEAN Regional Forum is now beginning to engage in dialogue participants who historically have been hesitant to discuss one another's security concerns.
Latin America: Latin America has a rich history of regional arms control dialogues. Instabilities in Central and South America are addressed through the Central American Security Commission (CASC) and the Organization of American States (OAS). In 1967 the region created the first nuclear weapon free zone, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which is now in force in 30 states. Realization of the full potential of this Treaty was moved closer when Argentina and Brazil established a bilateral monitoring arrangement covering their respective nuclear facilities.
Africa: In Africa, initiatives are being considered on bilateral and multilateral level through the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which recently established a conflict resolution mechanism to address regional and ethnic tensions. It will address both interstate and intrastate conflicts, through preventative and peacekeeping measures.
Europe: Europe, of course, has had the longest running and most successful regional security dialogues. Today we are implementing force reductions under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty, and pursuing transparency through the Treaty on Open Skies and the broad range of transparency and confidence building measures adopted by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). Such transparency measures drain the danger from ambiguous military moves, by shedding light on behavior that may seem threatening but in fact is benign.
The Middle East: Finally, in the Middle East, the regional security dialogue is far less developed but is clearly moving in the right direction. In the Middle East Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group, cosponsored by Russia and the United States, fourteen parties from the region are discussing steps such as declaratory measures, verification, a crisis prevention center, information exchanges, and the first region-wide communications network. India has attended as an extra-regional observer.
Progress in this working group obviously will be influenced by the pace of events in the peace process. But in fostering a healthy discussion among historic adversaries, it has also demonstrated that transparency and confidence building measures can advance regional security. Meanwhile, all key regional states, including Israel, have supported the goal of a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East.
Why Arms Control?
All of these regimes bespeak a widening recognition of a fundamental point: arms control -- whether on a global or a regional basis - is not an exercise in generosity or altruism, but a positive sum endeavor that nations engage in because it is in their interests to do so. When potential adversaries reduce arms or forego destabilizing capabilities, both win. Both make war less likely and less destructive if it happens. Both reduce their risks, their uncertainties, their expenditures. Both gain security -- and often stand to benefit politically and economically as well.
Indeed, I have been emphasizing that arms control is a pillar of national security complementary to and no less vital than defense. In truth, it is defense by other means.
I do not pretend that arms control is easy. Political obstacles alone can seem insurmountable. As George Bernard Shaw put it, "Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous."
But for all of its difficulty, arms control is by far the best solution to many of today's gravest security concerns. Where arms races and war are radical surgery, arms control is preventive medicine -- a bargain in money and potentially in lives.
And instead of simply reacting to an adversary's security moves, arms control shapes a nation's security to its own will. More and more countries, attracted either to global regimes or regional dialogues, are discovering that when they control arms they control their fate.
By contrast, amassing a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons did not preserve the Soviet Union -- but only helped sap its energies. And is it mere coincidence that the rise of Germany and Japan as great industrial powers was not burdened by nuclear weapons -- or that these are the two nations most often spoken of as potential new permanent members of the UN Security Council?
India has long been a leading disarmament advocate. Your philosophical traditions inform this leadership -- and demand it. In the century to come, I am convinced that the United States and India -- working together and in their own regions -- will help hasten the day when children will have to look in history books to see what nuclear weapons looked like.
If we do, we will build the kind of world that is in our deepest interests as great democracies -- a world where nations are esteemed not because they keep arms, but because they keep commitments -- to other nations and to their own people.
To that great cause we owe our most diligent efforts in the years to come.