ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India concluded their sixth round of expert-level talks Tuesday with the note seeking extension in the validity of the bilateral agreement on ‘Reducing the Risk from Accidents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’, for next five years.
“Both sides will report the progress in talks to their respective foreign secretaries,” said a joint statement issued on the conclusion of two-day talks on confidence building measures (CBMs) relating to their conventional and nuclear weapons. It said the talks, held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere, were in pursuance to the agreement between the two foreign ministers in New Delhi on July 27.
Both sides reviewed the implementation and strengthening of existing CBMs in the framework of Lahore MoU, and agreed to explore possibilities for mutually acceptable additional CBMs. Diplomatic sources privy to the talks said both sides also discussed possibility of expanding the existing agreement on advance notification on ballistic missiles.
Moreover, the two sides also discussed a proposal seeking a cooperative mechanism to tackle a Fukushima-like crisis, which occurred in Japan a few months back.
Additional Secretary (UN&EC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Munwar Saeed Bhatti led Pakistan delegation while Mr DB Venkatesh Varma, Joint Secretary (DISA), Ministry of External Affairs, led the Indian side. On Monday, both the neighbours discussed a number of CBMs relating to conventional weapons including the redeployment of heavy weaponry along the LoC, an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea and the return of citizens who inadvertently cross the border.
This was the first round of talks of the Joint Working Group of the South Asian nuclear neighbours on nuclear and conventional CBMs since October 2007, revived following meeting of the prime ministers of the two countries at the side lines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit held in the Maldives two months ago. These talks were part of the peace process both the neighbours resumed in February 2011.