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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan, India N-talks remain inconclusive but `constructive`

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Dec 15, IRNA - Pakistani and Indian officials on Wednesday 
did not reach any agreement during their two-day talks on ways and 
means to avert any possible nuclear conflict but described the talks 
as constructive and cordial. 
Heads of the Pakistani and Indian delegations told reporters that 
they have decided to continue talks on nuclear Confidence Building 
Measures. 
The nuclear discussion is part of wider efforts to improve 
relations between the South Asian rivals. 
"The talks were constructive and held in cordial atmosphere," 
Tariq Usman Hyder Additional Secretary in the Pakistani Foreign Office
said. 
He said the two sides will inform foreign secretaries about the 
progress in the talks who are scheduled to meet on December 27 and 28.
"Objective of the talks is to reduce the threat of nuclear 
conflict," Meera Shankar, additional secretary Indian Ministry of 
External Affairs told reporters after the talks. 
"The two sides held discussions in a cordial and constructive 
atmosphere, in the framework of the Lahore MoU of 1999 and the Join 
Statement of 20 June 2004. Both sides reiterated their desire to keep 
working towards elaboration and implementation of Nuclear CBMs, within
the agreed framework," a joint statement issued after the talks said. 
"Detailed consultations were also held on early decisions taken 
during the last round of expert level talks on nuclear CBMs held in 
New Delhi on 19-20 June 2004, especially on the up gradation of the 
existing hotline between the DGMOs, and establishment of a dedicated 
and secure hotline between the two Foreign secretaries." 
These measures are, inter alia, intended to prevent 
misunderstanding and reduce risks relevant to nuclear issues, it said.
"Both sides agreed that future periodic expert level talks on 
Nuclear CBMs would discuss, review and monitor the implementation of 
Nuclear CBMs as called for by the Lahore MoU of 1999." 
They also agreed to report the progress made in the present round 
of the talks to the respective foreign secretaries, who are scheduled 
to meet on 27-28 December 2004, and decide on the date and venue of 
the next expert level meeting on Nuclear CBMs. 
The first meeting, on Tuesday, focused on building confidence in 
each other`s nuclear programmes and the second on Wednesday 
concentrated on conventional weapons. 
Earlier the Pakistani Foreign Office said one of the aims of the 
talks would be to finalise a formal agreement on the prior 
notification of ballistic missile tests, but the two sides did not 
reach any formal agreement. 
Pakistani delegation head said he handed over a draft of the 
proposed agreement on the missile testing. 
The two sides already have a tradition to inform each other prior 
to missile test but they want a formal agreement. 
In 1998, both states carried out nuclear tests and they are 
engaged in advanced nuclear capable ballistic missile programs. 
The talks were held amid attempts by both the countries to go on 
further conventional arm purchases. 
The Indian government voiced its concern at the possibility of the
US selling F-16 fighter aircraft to Islamabad during a visit last week
to Delhi by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. 
Pakistan has rejected Indian concern and says Islamabad`s 
purchases were "modest" when compared to their neighbour`s. 
TK/TSH/1416 



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