Originally Published 2004-03-22 04:20:00 Published on Mar 22, 2004
During his visit to Islamabad last week,Gen.Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, announced the decision of the Bush Administration to designate Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) of the US. The decision would become effective 30 days after a notification in this regard has been sent by the President to the Congress.
Pakistan as a Major Non-Nato Ally(MNNA) of US
During his visit to Islamabad last week,Gen.Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, announced the decision of the Bush Administration to designate Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) of the US. The decision would become effective&nbsp; 30 days after&nbsp; a notification in this regard has been&nbsp; sent by the President to the Congress. <br /> <br /> A decision to grant this status to Thailand was announced by President Bush on October 19,2003, during a visit to Thailand. Even before his announcement, the required notification had been sent to the Congress jointly by the US Departments of State and Defence. It became effective from October-end. <br /> <br /> The US Embassy in Bangkok had issued a Fact Sheet explaining what the MNNA status meant. The following is the text of the Fact Sheet: <br /> <br /> <strong>Fact Sheet: Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) Status for Thailand</strong> <br /> <br /> President Bush publicly announced the designation of Thailand as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) on October 19, 2003 during his State Visit to the Kingdom of Thailand. The Departments of State and Defense had notified Congress of the intent to designate Thailand in early October 2003. <br /> <br /> Background Information: MNNA Status does not entail the same mutual defense and security guarantees afforded to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members. However, designation of Thailand as an MNNA represents an affirmation of the importance the US places on the US-Thai alliance relationship in the 21st century. Thailand has been a treaty ally of the United States for nearly 50 years, since the 1954 Manila Pact. The alliance partnership has continued to expand over the years. Recently, Thailand has made important counterterrorism contributions and has sent troops to coalition efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. <br /> <br /> <strong>(MNNA) Definitions:</strong> U.S. legislation creates two categories of MNNA status. The first category is under Title 10 U.S Code Section 2350a (Nunn Amendment of 1987). The Second is under Section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA) (title 22, USC Section 2321k). <br /> <br /> Title 10 U.S. Code Section 2350a authorizes the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to designate MNNAs for purposes of participating with the Department of Defense (DOD) in cooperative research and development programs. Israel, Egypt, Japan, Australia, and the Republic of Korea were given MNNA designation under Title 10 in 1987, followed by Jordan (1996), Argentina (1998), New Zealand and Bahrain (2002), and the Philippines and Thailand (2003). <br /> <br /> <strong>Designation under this provision:</strong> </font> </p> <ul> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Permits firms of the country to bid on certain USG contracts for maintenance, repair or overhaul of DOD equipment outside the Continental US. (10 USC 2349)</font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes a country eligible for certain joint counterterrorism research &amp; development projects. (22 USC 2349a-10(b); PL 104-132 sec. 328(b))</font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Allows DOD to enter into cooperative R&amp;D projects with the country to improve conventional defense capabilities on an equitable cost-sharing basis. (10 USC sec 2350a)</font> </div> </li> </ul> <p align="justify" class="greytext1"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, authorizes the President to designate a country as a MNNA after 30-days notification to Congress, for purposes of the FAA and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). The statute, enacted in 1996, initially designated Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand as MNNAs. Subsequently, Jordan (1996), Argentina (1998), Bahrain (2002), and the Philippines and Thailand (2003) have also been designated as MNNAs under this provision. <br /> <br /> <strong>Designation under this provision:</strong> </font> </p> <ul> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes a nation eligible, to the maximum extent feasible, for priority delivery of excess defense articles if it is on the South or Southeastern flank of NATO. (FAA &#167;516) <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes a nation eligible to buy depleted uranium ammunition. (FAA &#167;620G) <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes the country eligible to have U.S.-owned War Reserve Stockpiles on its territory outside of U.S. military installations. (FAA &#167;514) )>. <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Allows the country to enter into agreements with the USG for the cooperative furnishing of training on a bilateral or multilateral basis under reciprocal financial arrangements that may exclude reimbursement for indirect costs and certain other charges. (AECA &#167;21(g)) <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Allows the country to use U.S. provided Foreign Military Financing for commercial leasing of certain defense articles. (Section 589 of the FY01 Foreign Operations Appropriation Act, Public Law 106-429) <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes a country eligible for loans of materials, supplies and equipment for cooperative R&amp;D projects and testing and evaluation. (AECA &#167;65) <br /> </font> </div> </li> <li> <div align="justify"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">Makes a country eligible for expedited processing of export licenses of commercial satellites, their technologies, components, and systems. (Section 1309 of the James W. Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001, Public Law 106-113)</font> </div> </li> </ul> <p align="justify" class="greytext1"> <font size="2" class="greytext1">MNNA designation under section 517 of the FAA can be terminated at the discretion of the President with 30 days notice to the Congress, but no specific criteria or precedents exist regarding termination. (Text ends) <br /> <br /> The Philippines and Thailand, both of which were members of the now defunct South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) and have had a long and uninterrupted (despite the closure of the Subic Bay Naval base)military co-operation relationship with the US , have been granted the benefits of both the categories.It is, therefore, likely that Pakistan would be treated on par with them and would be granted the benefits of both the categories. This would certainly have security implications for India as explained below. <br /> <br /> The invoking of the Pressler Amendment against Pakistan in 1990 consequent upon its acquiring a military nuclear capability led to a total ban on all military supply and co-operation relationship with Pakistan. A ban was imposed on the training of Pakistani military officers in the US, exchanges of visits by military officers were severely curtailed, equipment in the pipeline (F-16 aircraft,&nbsp; three&nbsp; naval aircraft (P-3) etc)were frozen and a ban was imposed even on the supply of spare parts for equipment sold to Pakistan before 1990. Pakistan ceased to be eligible to concessional military supplies. There was also an unannounced ban on all exchanges of visits by the scientists working in the nuclear and missile establishments and advisories were issued to all US educational institutions and research laboratories to exercise care and caution&nbsp; against Pakistani scientists seeking admissions or invitations in respect of subjects relating to nuclear and missile development. <br /> <br /> After the visit of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, to Washington DC in 1995 a limited exemption was granted by the Clinton administration under the Brown Amendment. The naval aircraft were delivered, but not the F-16 and limited quantities of spare parts were delivered for the Army and the Navy, but not for the Air Force. These exemptions were removed after Pakistan carried out its nuclear tests in 1998 and reinforced after the Army seized power on October 12, 1999. <br /> <br /> Since 9/11, these sanctions have been eased gradually. The&nbsp; supply (not known whether free or on payment) of spare parts to all past equipment of the three services has been resumed. Free and concessional supply of new equipment has also resumed, but the Bush administration has been projecting them as equipment meant to strengthen Pakistan's counter-terrorism and counter-infiltration capabilities on the border with Afghanistan. <br /> <br /> Priority has till now been to the supply of helicopters and communications equipment as well as gadgets required for the personal security of Musharraf, some of which like the jammer to jam remote control devices was procured by the US from Israel and given to Pakistan. The US has also reportedly been funding the visits of some Israeli Police officers and VIP security experts to Pakistan to advise the Musharraf Government on strengthening his security.&nbsp; Pakistani military and intelligence officers are again attending training courses in the US. High-level exchanges of military visits have become common. <br /> <br /> So far as military supplies are concerned, even before the decision to grant the MNNA status was taken,&nbsp; all restrictions had been removed. However, the Bush Administration had till recently been reluctant to accept Pakistani requests for the sale of new F-16 aircraft, equipment meant to neutralise the advantage accruing to India from its purchase of the Phalcon radars from Israel, the latest model of US tanks and depleted uranium anti-tank ammunition. <br /> <br /> This reluctance was partly due to concerns over the reactions in India and partly due to opposition from a large section of the House of Representatives to the supply of such equipment to Pakistan, which could be looked upon by India as detrimental to its security. It was being said that while Mr.Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, was against the supply of such equipment, Gen.Powell and more particularly Mrs.Christina Rocca,his Assistant Secretary of State in charge of South Asia, were more favourably inclined. <br /> <br /> Would the grant of the MNNA status to Pakistan lead to the supply of the eqipment coveted by Musharraf in disregard of India's concerns? Or was it meant merely to bolster the image of Musharraf in the eyes of his subordinates and public without any qualitative upgradation of the military supplies? What would happen to the post-1990 advisories relating to Pakistani nuclear and missile scientists? These are questions which it would be difficult to answer now. <br /> <br /> It is not very difficult to see why the US has taken this decision to upgrade the status of Pakistan now. Among the reasons cited by Indian and American analysts is Pakistan's close co-operation with the US in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda dregs. More important than the military co-operation is the intelligence co-operation between the two countries, which has not been highlighted. While there are only a small number of US military officers posted in Pakistan outside the US diplomatic missions, there are estimated to be 200 plus officers of the National Security Agency, responsible for technical intelligence (TECHINT) collection, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon's Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)&nbsp; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) posted in Pakistan in the main cities as well as near the Afghan border. Well-informed observers say that there are more US intelligence officers posted in Pakistan today, with the consent of Musharraf, than even at the height of the Afghan war of the 1980s against the Soviet troops. <br /> <br /> No other military dictator of Pakistan has given such a free reign to the US intelligence community as Musharraf has. The NSA has been allowed by Musharraf to maintain an electronic surveillance of not only the dregs of Al Qaeda, but also all Pakistani nuclear and missile scientists and serving and retired military officers who are suspected by the US of having links with Al Qaeda. It is reported that among those under electronic surveillance by the US intelligence with the approval of Musharraf are LTs.Gen. Hamid Gul, Javed Nasir and Mahmood Ahmed, former chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Gen. Mohammad Aziz, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Lt.Gen. (retd) Zaffar Usmani, former Corps Commander, Karachi, and Vice Chief of Army Staff, and Major-Gen.Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi, who tried to stage an abortive coup against Benazir in 1995. The US intelligence officers have also been reportedly allowed by Musharraf to maintain an electronic surveillance of the bordering areas of Iran. <br /> <br /> For all practical purposes, Mr.Shaukat Aziz, the Finance Minister, who enjoys the confidence of both the US and Musharraf, has been discreetly performing the role of the facilitator of the US intelligence community in Pakistani territory. (22-3-04) <br /> <br /> <strong>(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai Chapter. E-Mail: [email protected] )</strong> <br /> <br /> <em>* Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Observer Research Foundation.</em>
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