M A I N   N E W S

India, Pak okay pact on ballistic missiles
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
India and Pakistan tonight reached an understanding on the proposed Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles which commits both sides to pre-notify in a structured format flight testing of ballistic missiles.

The two countries also agreed to operationalise the hotline between their Foreign Secretaries from next month to prevent misunderstandings and reduce risks relevant to nuclear issues. In this connection, discussions on related technical parameters were held and details about implementation and testing schedules were exchanged.

The two decisions were taken at the end of two-day Expert Level Dialogue on Nuclear Confidence Building Measures between the two countries. The two sides held wide-ranging discussions, including on their respective security concepts and nuclear doctrines.

The talks, which started at 10 am in South Block continued till 8 pm. There were breaks in between during which each side held in-house hectic consultations. At the conclusion of the day-long talks, Ms Meera Shankar, Additional Secretary (UN), Ministry of External Affairs, who led the Indian delegation, read out a mutually-agreed Joint Press Statement while her Pakistani counterpart, Mr Tariq Usman Hyder looked on.

Today’s development does not change much, operationally speaking. But it marks a major diplomatic symbolism between the two countries which have fought three wars in last six decades. The two neighbours have been informing each other before launching missile tests but that is under international conventions.

The proposed agreement is aimed at enhancing mutual confidence and engendering predictability and transparency of intent. Once the proposed agreement comes into effect, India and Pakistan will be under a bilateral obligation to notify each other before flight-testing of missiles.

What happened today was an agreement between the two countries’ experts on the text of the proposed Agreement. This draft will be put up before the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan for formalisation and would come into force only after their approval.


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