India, Pakistan exchange lists of nuclear facilities, prisoners

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The practice has been in place since 1992, with the list of nuclear installations exchanged annually on January 1.

Pakistan says it has handed a list of its nuclear installations and facilities to the Indian mission in Islamabad under a decades-old agreement between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement on Sunday that India had simultaneously handed over a list to the Pakistani mission in New Delhi.

It said lists are exchanged annually on January 1. The practice has been in place since 1992.

The neighbours have fought three wars and have had a number of military skirmishes in recent years. Last year an Indian missile accidentally landed in Pakistan, setting off alarm bells across the world.

“The list of nuclear installations and facilities in Pakistan was officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today [Sunday],” Pakistan’s foreign office said.

The annual exchanges come at a time diplomatic ties between the two are near non-existent.

India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters news agency’s request for comment.

Pakistan first officially tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and has since developed a significant stockpile of nuclear capable missiles, as has India.

With the help of China, Pakistan has recently increased its use of nuclear energy to meet the rising demand for electricity.

In a separate statement, Pakistan’s foreign office said the two countries had also exchanged a list of each other’s citizens held in prisons.

The list included 705 Indian prisoners imprisoned in Pakistan, including 51 civilians and 654 fishermen, the statement said.

It added that the Indian government also shared with the Pakistani mission in New Delhi a list of 434 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 339 civilians and 95 fishermen.

Pakistan has requested the early release and repatriation of 51 of its civilian prisoners and 94 fishermen who have completed their sentences. A request for special consular access to 56 civil prisoners has also been made.

Fishermen from each country are often arrested when they stray into the other’s waters.

Source : Aljazeera