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India-Pakistan Nuclear Information Exchange


India and Pakistan recently exchanged lists of their nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad, adhering to the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between the two countries.


GS III: Energy, GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities
  2. Key Disputes Between India and Pakistan
  3. Pathways to India-Pakistan Dispute Resolution

Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities

  • Origins: The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988, by the then Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan and Rajiv Gandhi of India.
  • Enforcement: It officially came into force on January 27, 1991.
  • Historical Context: The recent exchange marks the 33rd consecutive sharing of lists between the two nations, with the inaugural exchange occurring on January 1, 1992.
  • Trigger Event: The negotiation and signing of the agreement were prompted, in part, by the tensions arising from the 1986-87 Brasstacks military exercise conducted by the Indian Army. Operation Brasstacks took place in the Indian state of Rajasthan, near the Pakistan border.
  • Notification Requirement: The agreement mandates that both countries inform each other about nuclear installations and facilities covered under the agreement on January 1 of each calendar year, fostering a confidence-building security environment.
  • Inclusions: The term ‘nuclear installation or facility’ includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotope separation, and reprocessing facilities. It also encompasses any other installations involving fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form, along with establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials.

Key Disputes Between India and Pakistan

Kashmir Conflict
  • Violations along the Line of Control: Frequent breaches of the Line of Control, resulting in casualties and heightened tensions.
  • Unresolved Demilitarization Calls: Outstanding demands for demilitarization on both sides of the Line of Control, impeding progress towards a peaceful resolution.

Terrorism Challenges

  • Cross-border Militant Infiltration: India’s accusations of Pakistan-backed militants crossing the Line of Control for terrorist activities.
  • Divergent Designations of Terror Groups: Differences in designating militant organizations as terrorist entities, hindering counter-terrorism cooperation.
  • Civilian Toll from Terrorism: Terrorist attacks causing loss of innocent lives and exacerbating animosity between the two communities.
Water Sharing Disputes
  • Dams Construction Dispute: Disagreement over the construction of dams and hydroelectric projects on the Indus River and its tributaries, impacting water flow and usage rights.
  • Implementation Issues of the Indus Water Treaty: Varied interpretations and implementation challenges regarding water allocation and dispute resolution mechanisms.
Trade and Economic Strains
  • Trade Barriers and Tariffs: Impediments from restrictive trade policies and high tariffs affecting cross-border trade and economic connectivity.
  • 2019 Trade Halt and Tariff Imposition: Pakistan’s cessation of trade with India in 2019 and India’s imposition of a 200% tariff on Pakistani imports impacting economic relations.
  • Limited Cross-border Investment: Political tensions and security concerns acting as deterrents to investment and joint ventures between businesses in both nations.
  • Dependency on External Trade Routes: Relying on trade routes outside the region increasing costs and reducing efficiency for both economies.
Regional Geopolitical Concerns
  • China’s Influence in Pakistan: Growing Chinese investment and presence, exemplified by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, raising concerns for India regarding strategic alliances and the regional balance of power.

Pathways to India-Pakistan Dispute Resolution

Building Confidence Measures
  • Enhanced Communication Channels: Establishing secure and direct communication channels at various levels to facilitate open dialogue and crisis management.
  • LoC De-escalation Strategies: Implementing and reinforcing ceasefire agreements, reducing troop deployments, and establishing joint mechanisms for investigating violations along the Line of Control.
  • People-to-People Initiatives: Encouraging cultural and academic exchanges, organizing sports events, and fostering joint initiatives addressing shared challenges such as climate change and healthcare.
Addressing Core Issues
  • Resolution of the Kashmir Dispute: Pursuing a just and enduring solution to the Kashmir issue through dialogues that consider the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and respect international legal frameworks.
  • Combating Terrorism Together: Intensifying collaborative efforts to dismantle terrorist networks, addressing financing and ideological sources, and ensuring accountability for past acts of terrorism.
  • Water Cooperation Measures: Implementing the Indus Water Treaty effectively, sharing data transparently, and exploring joint water management projects for mutual benefit.
Regional and International Cooperation
  • Promoting Mediation Through Regional Forums: Facilitating talks through regional forums like SAARC to seek solutions acceptable to both India and Pakistan.
  • Balancing External Influences: Navigating relationships with external powers like China and the US to ensure they contribute positively without jeopardizing bilateral progress.
Fostering Public Understanding and Support
  • Media Responsibility: Encouraging responsible media coverage, avoiding negative stereotyping, and highlighting positive stories of cooperation and shared history to foster public understanding and support for dispute resolution.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024