[DAWN] Pakistan and India agree to extend nuclear pacts

ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistani and Indian officials agreed on Tuesday on extending pacts on reducing risks of nuclear accidents and pre-notification of ballistic missile tests.

“The two sides agreed to recommend to their foreign secretaries to extend the validity of the ‘Agreement on Reducing the Risk from Accidents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’ for another five years,” the Foreign Office said in a statement issued at the conclusion of sixth round of expert-level talks on nuclear confidence-building measures (CBMs).

The meeting held after a break of four years, according to a source, also agreed to extend the ‘Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles’ by five years.

The flight testing notification agreement is valid till February next year.

But this agreement has not been mentioned in the statements issued by Islamabad and New Delhi.

Both sides discussed their security concepts and nuclear doctrines with focus on nuclear ‘restraint and responsibility’.

Islamabad’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime and fissile material cut-off treaty were also discussed, but sources said there was no noticeable progress on the issues.

Existing nuclear and conventional CBMs were reviewed and proposals for additional measures were swapped.

The CBMs reviewed at the meeting included hotline between the foreign secretaries; the ceasefire put in place along the LoC since November 2003 and the agreement on advance notification of military exercises.

The two sides discussed ideas on preventing incidents at sea involving the navies of both countries.

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