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Indo-Pak talks on thorny ground over nuke controls news
30 December 2011

As Indian external affairs minister S M Krishna prepares to visit Pakistan for a review of the confidence-building measures (CBMs) between the two neighbours, preparatory talks haven't made much progress.

The nuclear issue is particularly thorny. India has pressed Pakistan to enunciate its nuclear doctrine and asked it to join global efforts for concluding the UN-sponsored fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), which would ban the production of nuclear bomb-making material.

At the expert-level talks in Islamabad earlier this week on nuclear CBMs, India did not accept Pakistan's proposal for bilateral cooperation on nuclear safety and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, saying such a step would have to wait till there is better trust and confidence between the two countries.

Emphasising restraint and responsibility in the management of nuclear weapons, India has expressed the hope that Pakistan would seriously consider joining the FMCT talks during the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) expected to start in the third week of January.

Pakistan is the only one of the 65 refusing to participate in the FMCT talks. Of course, the treaty is at a nascent stage, and many differences have to be sorted out between the recognised nuclear powers as well.

On conventional weapons, a spokesman for India's ministry of external affairs said the country has rejected the proposal to move artillery of sizes greater than 130 mm at least 30 km away from the Line of Control.

India believes that Pakistan-trained militants continue to infiltrate the LoC into Indian-administered Kashmir, and until this stops, it's premature to talk about moving heavy artillery away, the spokesman said.

India further believes it is Pakistan that is responsible for a number of cease-fire violations across the LoC, which normally include small arms fire at Indian border posts, he added.

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Indo-Pak talks on thorny ground over nuke controls