India, Pakistan upbeat over N-talks

India and Pakistan have focused on "areas of convergence" during the first round of talks in New Delhi on ways to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear attack.

    Pakistan is yet to agree to the no-first-use N-doctrine

    A joint press statement released on Saturday said both sides were upbeat and

    determined to produce results.

     

    The two-day talks are centred on nuclear crisis management, including a ban on further tests and preventing the accidental or non-authorised use of nuclear weapons, an Indian official said on condition of anonymity.

      

    Led by top foreign ministry officials, Sheel Kant Sharma from India and Tariq Usman Haider of Pakistan, the two sides identified "areas of convergence" during the talks, the official said.

      

    "They also exchanged views on their respective security concepts and nuclear doctrines and agreed to elaborate and work toward confidence-building measures," local reports said quoting Navtej Sarna, India's external affairs ministry spokesman. 

     

     

    Focus 

      

    The talks will also focus on the two countries' conflicting nuclear policies.

      

    "They also exchanged views on their respective security concepts and nuclear doctrines"

    Navtej Sarna,
    spokesman, external affairs ministry, India

    India
    - which enjoys a substantial advantage in conventional weapons over Pakistan - says it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. Pakistan, however, has not committed to a no-first-use doctrine.

      

    India and Pakistan stunned the world when they carried out nuclear tests in May 1998, provoking military and economic sanctions by the United States and its allies.

      

    International fears were exacerbated when the two countries' forces fought in the Himalayas in 1999, and came close to war again in mid-2002.

      

    However, relations have since thawed and both countries are actively pursuing peace. International sanctions also have been lifted by the United States and other countries.

      

    The foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet again between 27 and 28 June to discuss the decades-old dispute over the divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir, the cause of two of the countries' three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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