Pentagon blamed for Pakistan nuclear bomb 0
The U.S. Department of Defense resisted moves by the Congress to curtail Gen. Zia’s nuclear programme, a key U.S. policy maker of the time says in a new book. The book titled Senator Pressler: An Independent Mission to Save Our Democracy sheds new light on U.S. attempts to deal with the Pakistan nuclear programme which under the Presidency of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq thrived due to an elaborate international smuggling network led by Dr. A.Q. Khan. The book which is dedicated to Larry Pressler’s political life as a Senator from South Dakota recounts that the Pentagon backed by a section of the academia, media, think tanks and military-industrial complex did not support the Pressler Amendment which aimed to impose a trade embargo on Pakistan in the late 1980s for lying to the American government regarding its nuclear programme. “The Pentagon strongly opposed it at the time,” he says in his autobiography, revealing that it was President Ronald Reagan who found his expertise on India-Pakistan ties of interest and encouraged him to come up with an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act 1961 which became known as the “Pressler Amendment”. The Pressler Amendment was used by President George H.W. Bush to force Pakistan to go slow on the nuclear programme during the four years, 1989 to 1993. Mr. Pressler blames the military-industrial complex of the U.S. for stalling the campaign to stop the Pakistani nuclear programme which went overt with a series of nuclear tests in the Chagai mountain range of Balochistan in May 1998. Many believe that Pakistan could have been prevented from going nuclear had the U.S. acted on time and acted tough with Gen. Zia. Mr. Pressler reportedly is trying to stage a comeback as an advocate of India in Washington DC and sent his autobiography to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Shivraj Singh, a politician of NDA coalition partner Rashtriya Lok Shakti Party (RLSP) who was in the U.S. for supporting the visit of Mr. Modi to the White House. Mr. Pressler’s comments are significant as the U.S. at present is pushing for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, while being silent on Pakistan’s claims for a similar membership. Mr. Pressler confirmed in an email to The Hindu that he is working on a new book on India-U.S. diplomacy which will shed light on nuclear issues and his ties with Indian political leaders like the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Mr. Pressler has enjoyed good ties with Indian IT giant Infosys where he served on the board of directors for several years. The upcoming book is being published by Penguin Random House and will be out in 2017, Mr. Pressler said.
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