India, Pakistan to renew n-accidents pact

December 27th, 2011 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad/New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Senior officials of India and Pakistan Tuesday ended their two-day talks in Islamabad by agreeing to consider renewing for another five years a pact on reducing nuclear accidents and to explore additional confidence-building measures (CBMs).

The Indian delegation, led by D.B. Venkatesh Varma, joint secretary (Disarmament) in the external affairs ministry, held the sixth round of expert-level talks with the Pakistani side led by Munawar Saeed Bhatti, additional secretary in the foreign office.

“The talks were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere,” a joint statement said at the end of the talks.

“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,” said the statement.

One of the important outcomes of the meeting was that 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.

“Both sides will report the progress in talks to their respective foreign secretaries,” said the statement.

On Monday, India and Pakistan had concluded the fifth round of expert level talks on conventional CBMs.

“The two sides reviewed the implementation of existing CBMs, including the ceasefire along the LoC, and reaffirmed their commitment to continue discussions on conventional CBMs,” said a joint statement.

The two sides exchanged a host of proposals over additional CBMs that included the redeployment of heavy weaponry along the LoC, a pact on prevention of incidents at sea and the return of citizens who inadvertently cross the border.

The expert-level talks on conventional and nuclear CBMs are part of the revived peace process the two sides resumed in February this year after a hiatus of more than two years following the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in the Maldives on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in November and decided to push trust-building measures to add momentum to the revived dialogue process.

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