and Pakistan started an expert-level dialogue on nuclear
confidence building measures ( CBMs) on Friday which is aimed
at reducing the risks of an accidental nuclear disaster.
A formal agreement on pre-flight testing of missiles and the
establishment of a hotline between the foreign secretaries of
the two countries top the agenda of two-day talks between the
The Indian side is led by Meera Shankar, additional secretary
in the External Affairs Ministry, and the Pakistani
delegation is headed by Tariq Osman Hyder, additional
This is the third round of dialogue between the experts on
nuclear CBMs since the composite dialogue between India and
Pakistan resumed in 2004.
The last two meetings were held in June 2004 in New Delhi and
December 2004 in Islamabad.
The bilateral talks would also deal with proposals for
upgradation of the existing hotline between the Pakistani and
Indian directors general of military operations (DGMOs) and
exchange of nuclear doctrines.
Talks on conventional CBMs would be held Monday.
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - India and Pakistan will seek to
agree on a formal pact on informing each other about missile
tests during a new round of talks on nuclear weapons that
begin on Friday.
The talks are part of a tentative peace process between the
nuclear-armed neighbours. Although ties between the rivals
have improved since the process started in January 2004,
Islamabad and New Delhi have so far been unable to formalise
an understanding already in place to inform each other about
"They have been negotiating it. If it is finalised, you will
know day after tomorrow (Saturday). Certainly there has been
an exchange of drafts and discussions," Indian foreign
ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said late on Thursday.
The two old enemies will also on work on the nuts and bolts
of an agreement in June 2004 to set up a nuclear hotline to
But analysts said there was a limit to how much the two-day
talks could achieve.
"Both sides need to push to come to a formal deal on
notifying each other about missile tests," strategic affairs
analyst Jasjit Singh said.
"There is an asymmetry between Pakistan and India on nuclear
weapons use. We have committed to a first-no-use while they
have not," Singh said. "Because of this, talks will reach a
plateau after a while."
India and Pakistan stunned the world by conducting
tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, triggering U.S. sanctions
which have been mostly lifted since then.
The latest nuclear talks come after India was recognised by
the United States as a responsible nuclear power during a
visit to Washington by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July.
"These are building blocks of the composite dialogue
process," Bharat Karnad, research professor of the New
Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, told Reuters.
"Both sides are attempting to build a confidence regime to
reassure each other about their nuclear intentions."
After the nuclear talks, India and Pakistan will hold
discussions on conventional military confidence building on
Monday, which will be followed by a meeting between the
commerce secretaries of both nations.