Pakistan, India Call for Extending Agreement on Preventing Nuclear Accidents

Posted December 27th, 2011 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan and India say officials from both sides have called for extending an agreement on reducing the risk of nuclear accidents relating to their countries' atomic weapon stockpiles.

Pakistani and Indian government experts discussed nuclear confidence-building measures in Islamabad on Tuesday, the second day of a two-day dialogue between the nuclear-armed rivals. The talks are part of a peace process that resumed in February following a two-year break.

In a joint statement, Pakistan and India said the experts agreed to advise their foreign ministries to prolong the existing agreement on preventing nuclear weapon-related accidents by five years. The statement described the talks as “cordial” and “constructive.”

In Monday's talks, Pakistan proposed that both sides relocate their heavy weaponry at least 30 kilometers away from the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides Pakistani- and Indian-controlled Kashmir. India made no immediate public response to the idea of demilitarizing the Line of Control.

Pakistan and India claim Kashmir in full and have fought two wars over the Himalayan region since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Muslim separatists in Indian Kashmir have been fighting for independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan since 1989. Thousands of people have been killed in the insurgency.

India had suspended peace talks with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists. Islamabad denied any role in the attacks.