Why is it in the news?
- India and Pakistan exchanged lists of nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad.
- The exchange is covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan.
- This marks the 33rd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, starting from January 01, 1992.
Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities (Non-Attack Agreement)
- Signed on December 31, 1988, and entered into force on January 27, 1991.
- The agreement requires India and Pakistan to inform each other of the nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on January 1 of every calendar year.
- Both parties commit to refraining from undertaking, encouraging, or participating in any action aimed at causing the destruction or damage to nuclear installations or facilities in the other country.
- The term ‘nuclear installation or facility’ includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation, reprocessing facilities, and any other installations with nuclear fuel and materials.
Significance of the Agreement
- Reinforces commitment to durable peace and the development of friendly bilateral relations.
- Acknowledges the role of confidence-building measures in promoting bilateral relations based on mutual trust and goodwill.
- Recognizes the catastrophic potential of even a small nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, highlighting the risk of a nuclear winter and its impact on global populations.
|Nuclear Power in India
· India tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974, becoming the sixth country to detonate a nuclear weapon.
· Approximately 164 nuclear warheads with land-based, sea-based, and air-launch capabilities.
· Historically, India had a No First Use policy, but there were considerations of reassessment as of August 2019.
· Pursuing Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership, became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016.
· India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Nuclear Power in Pakistan
· Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998, testing its first nuclear weapon and having approximately 170 warheads.
· The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency projected 60-80 warheads by 2020, but Pakistan’s arsenal could grow to 220-250 warheads by 2025.
· Unlike India, Pakistan has not declared a No First Use policy but emphasizes smaller tactical nuclear weapons as a counter to India’s conventional forces.
· Adopts a position of ‘no first use’ against non-nuclear weapon states, and follows a policy of ‘full spectrum deterrence’ to maintain a minimum credible deterrence against India.
· Pakistan stores nuclear warheads separately from missiles and assembles them only when they will be used.
· Similar to India, Pakistan is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).