Pakistan Weighs Nuke Options

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There's a glimmer of hope among aides to President Clinton that the diplomatic and economic carrots they're offering may have bought them at least a week's delay before Pakistan decides whether or not to detonate a nuclear device. Pakistani officials have told the State Department that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will send a delegation to Washington at the end of May to discuss how India's nuclear tests two weeks ago have affected their security concerns. American officials believe it's unlikely Islamabad would explode its bomb before that meeting.

Oddly, this restraint is making India nervous, as shown by New Delhi's bellicose statements about the power of its nuclear blasts and about Kashmir, the Himalayan region that's divided between the countries. The State Department suspects that India, uncomfortable with the condemnation it has received, is trying to goad Pakistan into conducting a test. "The Indians would like nothing better than to rid themselves of this uncomfortable isolation," says a senior U.S. official.