India-Pakistan Nuclear Safeguards

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In the backdrop of the horrific bombings on their friendship train, India and Pakistan Wednesday signed an agreement to reduce the risk of nuclear accidents. This is a welcome development in an area described as a nuclear flashpoint by some Western experts.

Indian and Pakistani officials signed an agreement on “Reducing the Risk from Accidents Relating to Nuclear Weapons” in the presence of Foreign Ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri at Hyderabad House on Wednesday, reports The Hindu.

“Under the agreement, the two sides have committed to notifying each other immediately in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, which could create the risk of a radioactive fallout or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries.

“Both parties also agreed that they would use hotline links between Foreign Secretaries or Directors-General of Military Operations to share “urgent information” in the event of an accident. The agreement, which will remain in force for five years, may be extended for successive periods of five years at a time.”

Meanwhile the ‘Friendship Express’ between the Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian Capital New Delhi has resumed its run. The twice-weekly cross-border train – one of only two rail links between India and Pakistan – was restarted in 2004 after a two-year gap as part of the peace process.

Th train has a great significance for the relatives of those who for years could not meet following the division of India and Pakistan when the British left India in 1947, and millions of refugees crossed the borders on either side.

For comprehensive and detailed studies on “Nuclear Issues in India and Pakistan:
Selected Internet Resources…Statements and position papers”
from the Library, University of California, Berkeley, please click here.

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.