India and Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations that cannot be targeted

Lists exchanged under three-decades-old agreement

Shweta Sharma
Monday 02 January 2023 09:02 GMT
Army patrols intensify at India-Pakistan border ahead of Independent Day

Pakistan and India exchanged a list of their nuclear installations and facilities that cannot be targeted in the event of an escalation of hostilities between the two rival neighbours under a decades-old agreement.

The two South Asian nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars and remain locked in military skirmishes for decades over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

Last year, an Indian nuclear-capable cruise missile accidentally landed in Pakistan, triggering an alarm in Islamabad and across the world.

The list of nuclear sites in both countries is annually exchanged on 1 January under the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities, signed on 31 December 1988 and ratified on 27 January 1991.

“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,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.

It added that India also handed over a list to the Pakistani mission in New Delhi.

Pakistan officially tested its first nuclear weapons in 1998 and has since made significant developments in stockpiling nuclear-capable missiles. It has also increased the use of nuclear energy to meet rising demand for electricity with the help of China.

Pakistan and India also exchanged a list of each other’s citizens held prisoners in their countries.

Pakistan said it has 705 Indian prisoners detained in Pakistan, including 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen.

Meanwhile, India has 434 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 339 civilians and 95 fishermen, Foreign Office said.

India’s ministry of external affairs called for an early release and repatriation of missing Indian defence personnel, and civilians in Pakistan’s custody.

The ministry said it has asked Islamabad to fast-track the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and two Indian civilian prisoners “who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan”.

The two countries swap prisoners as the fisherman, civilians and sometimes military personnel are arrested on both sides of the land and maritime borders after they stray into their neighbour’s territory.

Last year in August, the Indian government sacked its three air force officers for “accidental firing of a missile” into Pakistan.

A BrahMos missile - a land-attack medium-range stealth supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India - was fired on 9 March this year from Haryana state and it landed near the town of Mian Channu in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.

The missile damaged a wall in a residential area, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

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