ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral agreement on reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons in a move suggesting the two rivals are still mindful of nuclear dangers despite currently strained ties.
The key agreement was extended for the next five years (2017-2022), said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.
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The agreement came into force in 2007. It was subsequently extended for a period of five years in 2012. The accord is part of the nuclear confidence building measures agreed between Pakistan and India. The aim of the agreement is to promote a stable environment of peace and security between the two countries, reads the official handout.
“It is premised on the recognition that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries adds to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict,” the statement added.
The agreement provides for immediate exchange of information between the two countries in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, under their respective jurisdiction and control, which could create the risk of radioactive fallout, with adverse consequences for both sides, or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war.
FO spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, commenting on the renewal of the agreement, said: “Pakistan believes in the need for both sides to stay engaged for strategic stability in South Asia.”
The development came at a time when relationship between the two countries is currently at their lowest point due to months of tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary. The dip in their ties first started in July last year because of the uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir following the killing of prominent Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
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The two countries were on the brink of war after India claimed to have carried out so-called surgicial strikes inside Pakistani Kashmir just days after 19 Indian soliders were killed when their base was stormed by militants in the disputed Kashmir region.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2017.
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