Govt aware of Pak's secretly acquired nuclear knowhow

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) The Government today admitted in the Lok Sabha that Pakistan has clandestinely acquired nuclear weapons knowhow technology.

In a written reply, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said New Delhi has consistently shared its concerns regarding the adverse effects of such developments on India's security with the international community.

''The Government is carefully monitoring all such developments that have a bearing on our security and are committed to taking necessary steps to safegurad our national security,'' he said.

In response to another question, Mr Mukherjee said the present arrangement between India and Pakistn on grant of consular access and release of each other's nationals, who are in custody is governed by the provisions of the Protocol on Consular Access of November 2, 1982.

The Government is concerned that 372 fishermen and an estimated 190 prisoners are in jails in Pakistan, many of whom have not been granted consular access despite prolonged period of being in custody.

Mr Mukherjee said a new Consular Agreement is being finalised with Pakistan to replace the existing protocol to ensure expeditious release of and consular access to prisoners. A Judicial Committee comprising superior judges from both countries has been set up to address such issues.

Replying to another question, the External Affairs Minister said India and Pakistan have agreed to increase the frequency of Delhi-Lahore bus service from two trips per week to three from each side.

Necessary measures are in place to check misuse of these services for illegal activities, he added.

He also said the Government was ready to resume the Composite Dialogue process as soon as the new government is in place in Pakistan. ''It remains our hope that we will be able to resolve outstanding issues and build a mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan in an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism,'' Mr Mukerjee added.

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