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India-Pak agree to finalise draft on reducing nuclear risks

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 26: India and Pakistan have agreed to work for finalising the draft text of an agreement for reducing risks of nuclear accidents and reaffirmed their desire for further elaboration and implementation of nuclear confidence-building measures (CBMs) within the framework of the Lahore Declaration.

A joint statement issued after the conclusion of the fourth round of India-Pakistan expert-level dialogue on Nuclear CBMs here today said the two sides expressed satisfaction on the signing of the agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles and the operationalisation of the hotline link between their respective Foreign Secretaries.

These measures are intended to prevent misunderstanding and reduce risks relevant to nuclear issues.

Mr. K C Singh, Additional Secretary (International Organisations) in the External Affairs Ministry, led the Indian side at the two-day talks which concluded today.

The Pakistani delegation was led by Mr. Tariq Osman Hyder, Additional Secretary (United Nations), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Indian delegation also called on the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

According to the joint statement, the two sides held discussions in a ''cordial and constructive atmosphere'' in the framework of the Lahore MoU of 1999.

As mandated by Foreign Secretaries, the two sides continued consultations on security concepts and nuclear doctrines to develop measures for confidence building.

''They reiterated their desire to keep working towards further elaboration and implementation of Nuclear CBMs within the framework of the Lahore MoU, with the objective of promoting a stable environment of peace and security between the two countries.

The two sides held detailed discussions on the draft text of an agreement, the objective of which is to reduce the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons, and agreed to work towards its finalisation, the statement added.

Both sides discussed modalities for further securing the Foreign Secretaries hotline and agreed that future periodic Expert Level talks on Nuclear CBMs would discuss, review and monitor the implementation of Nuclear CBMs as called for by the Lahore MoU.

They also agreed to report the progress made in the present round of the talks to the respective Foreign Secretaries who will decide on the date and venue of the next Expert Level meeting on Nuclear CBMs.

UNI

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