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India rejects Pak proposal to move heavy artillery from LoC

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Dec 30, IRNA -- India has rejected Pakistan's proposal to move heavy artillery and mortars away from the Line of Control citing frequent ceasefire violations and asked Islamabad to come clear on its nuclear policy, including command and control over nuclear assets.

This was conveyed to the Pakistani officials by India during the two-day talks on nuclear and conventional confidence building measures that were held in Islamabad after a gap of four years, pti reported quoting sources as saying here on Friday.

During the talks India conveyed to Pakistan on the need to demonstrate in practical measure restraint and responsibility in the nuclear field and urged it facilitate the talks on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

India expressed its inability to accept the Pakistani proposal of relocating heavy artillery citing the ongoing violations of ceasefire along the LoC, the sources said.

New Delhi cannot look at such proposals till the situation on the LoC improves, they said.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is slated to visit Pakistan to review the progress of the talks and both sides are keen to have the meetings between Home Secretaries, Water Resources Secretaries, Defence Secretaries and Foreign Secretaries before the visit.

On the nuclear CBMs, India made it clear to Pakistan that views on nuclear doctrines could be exchanged only when official documents enunciating the policies are available in the public domain.

Officials pointed out that India had announced its nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence in 2003 which places the command and control of nuclear devices with the civilian leadership.

India stressed on the need to have transparency and predictability in nuclear policies and the importance to demonstrate in practical measure restraint and responsibility in the nuclear field.

Indian officials also told their Pakistani counterparts to allow discussion on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament.

'This would be a CBM,' sources said pointing out that Pakistan had blocked the discussions on FMCT claiming that it has to continue producing fissile material used in nuclear weapons to address the conventional military imbalance with India.

The two-day talks also saw agreement on moving forward proposals to extend two key agreements on pre-notification of ballistic missile tests and reducing the risk from accidents related to nuclear weapons.

Senior officials of the two countries 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 five years.

The two sides also agreed to recommend to the Foreign Secretaries to extend the validity of the 'Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles' by five years.

The current tenure of this pact is set to end in February next year, sources said.

A proposal for an agreement to prevent 'incidents at sea' involving naval vessels of the two countries also came up during the talks.

There have been several incidents at sea, including one involving INS Godavari and PNS Babur when the Indian warship went to the rescue of persons captured by Somali pirates.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30739803

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