India and Pakistan interchange a list of their Nuclear Facilities under a Bilateral Contract

The annual India-Pakistan nuclear facilities list interchange takes place for the 26th time

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An Indian cricket fan is joined by others as he waves the Indian flag outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012. VOA

New Delhi, January 1, 2017: For the 26th consecutive year India and Pakistan interchanged a list of their nuclear facilities today under a bilateral contract that forbids them from attacking each other’s atomic installations.

“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

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The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, says the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the treaty on January 1 of every calendar year.

This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries. The first such interchange took place on January 1, 1992.

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The two countries also exchanged the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country locked in their respective prisons as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the MEA informed.

The agreement on consular access provides for exchanging a comprehensive list of nationals of each country lodged in their jails twice each year–on January 1 and July 1. This agreement was signed between the two countries on May 21, 2008,

India remains dedicated to addressing with Pakistan on priority the humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country. In this context, we await from Pakistan confirmation of nationality of those in India’s custody who are otherwise compatible for release and repatriation.

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The MEA statement says, “We also await consular access to those Indian nationals in Pakistan’s custody for whom it has so far not been provided including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Kulbhushan Jadhav”.

Jadhav had been captured by the Pakistani security forces from Balochistan in March and allegedly  was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).” Pakistan has accused Jadhav of planning “subversive activities” in the country.

India has agrees to the fact that Jadhav had been a part of the navy. But his dubious connections with the government have been denied.

Pakistan has rejected India’s request for consular access to Jadhav whom Pakistan claimed to be a RAW insider so far.

Ansari had crossed over illegally to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 reportedly to meet someone he had befriended online and then went missing. He was arrested and tried later by a Pakistani military court which found him guilty of espionage.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang