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Annual Exchange of Nuclear Installation Lists: India and Pakistan

  • 08 Jan 2024
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: India and Pakistan, Exchange of Nuclear Installation Lists: India and Pakistan, Line of Control, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Indus Water Treaty, SAARC.

For Mains: Major Areas of Dispute Between India and Pakistan, Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, India and Pakistan have exchanged lists of their respective nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels in New Delhi (India) and Islamabad(Pakistan).

  • This exchange falls under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between the two countries.

What is the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities?

  • About: The Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities was signed on 31st December, 1988, by the then Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi.
    • The treaty came into force on 27th January, 1991.
    • The recent one is the 33rd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, the first one having taken place on 01st January, 1992.
  • Background: While other factors might have played a role, the direct trigger for the negotiation and signing of the agreement was the tension generated by the 1986-87 Brasstacks exercise by the Indian Army.
    • Operation Brasstacks was a military exercise conducted in the Indian state of Rajasthan, near the Pakistan border.
  • Mandate: The agreement mandates both countries to inform each other about any nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the 1st of January of every calendar year, providing a confidence-building security measure environment.
    • According to the agreement, the term ‘nuclear installation or facility’ includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, iso-topes separation, and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials.

What are the Major Areas of Dispute Between India and Pakistan?

  • Kashmir Dispute:
    • Line of Control Violations: Frequent ceasefire violations along the LoC, resulting in casualties and escalating tensions.
    • Disagreements over Demilitarization: Calls for demilitarization on both sides of the LoC remain unaddressed, hindering progress towards peaceful resolution.
  • Terrorism:
    • Cross-border Infiltration: Accusations by India of Pakistan-backed militants infiltrating the LoC to carry out terrorist attacks.
    • Designation of Terror Groups: Differences in designating militant groups as terrorist organizations by both countries create obstacles to counter-terrorism cooperation.
    • Impact on Civilian Populations: Terrorist attacks claim innocent lives and foster further animosity between the two communities.
  • Water Sharing:
    • Construction of Dams: Dispute over construction of dams and hydroelectric projects on the Indus River and its tributaries, impacting water flow and usage rights.
    • Implementation of Indus Water Treaty: Differences in interpreting and implementing clauses of the treaty regarding water allocation and dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Trade and Economic Ties:
    • Trade Barriers: Restrictive trade policies and high tariffs imposed by both countries hinder cross-border trade and economic connectivity.
      • In August 2019, Pakistan halted trade with India in response to constitutional amendments made in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
      • India imposed a 200% tariff on Pakistani imports in 2019, when Pakistan’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) designation was removed in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist incident.
    • Limited Cross-border Investment: Political tensions and security concerns discourage investment and joint ventures between businesses in both countries.
    • Dependence on Third-party Trade Routes: Reliance on trade routes outside the region increases costs and reduces efficiency for both economies.
  • Regional Geopolitics:
    • China's Role in Pakistan: Increased Chinese investment and presence in Pakistan, including projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, create concerns for India about strategic alliances and balance of power.

How can India and Pakistan Move Towards Dispute Resolution?

  • Building Confidence Measures:
    • Strengthening Communication: Establishing direct, secure communication channels at various levels for open dialogue and crisis management.
    • De-escalation at the LoC: Implementing and strengthening ceasefire agreements, reducing troop deployments, and establishing joint mechanisms for investigating violations.
    • People-to-People Initiatives: Promoting cultural and academic exchanges, sports events, and joint initiatives addressing common challenges like climate change and healthcare.
  • Addressing Core Issues:
    • Kashmir Dispute Resolution: Seeking a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue through dialogue, considering the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and respecting international legal frameworks.
    • Combating Terrorism: Intensifying joint efforts to dismantle terrorist networks, addressing financing and ideological sources, and ensuring accountability for past acts.
    • Water Cooperation: Implementing the Indus Water Treaty effectively, sharing data and information transparently, and exploring joint water management projects for mutual benefit.
  • Regional and International Cooperation:
    • Encouraging Mediation: Facilitating talks through regional forums like SAARC, seeking solutions acceptable to both parties.
    • Balancing External Influences: Both countries need to navigate their relationships with external powers like China and the US to avoid jeopardizing bilateral progress.
  • Fostering Public Understanding and Support:
    • Media Responsibility: Promoting responsible media coverage, avoiding negative stereotyping, and emphasizing positive stories of cooperation and shared history.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. "Increasing cross border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)." Explain with suitable examples. (2016)

Q. Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India – Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples. (2015)

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