Ending nuclear rivalry: Pakistan and India doing well, says US
WASHINGTON: The US has welcomed steps announced by India and Pakistan to lower the risk of accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons and their efforts to make progress in bilateral dialogue.
Lauding their talks on nuclear confidence building measures as an opportunity to further improve relations between the two countries, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters on Monday that the US was happy to see the two pursuing this opportunity. “We think this is an opportunity for them to make further progress, while at the same time, (they need to) agree on concrete steps to lower the risk of accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons.”
Boucher said the United States applauded efforts by India and Pakistan to try to make progress in bilateral dialogue, and said Washington was continuing to have contacts with both governments. “We’re glad to see that the talks are going forward and we really appreciate the efforts from both sides to reduce tensions,” he said. Boucher said there were opportunities for India and Pakistan to lower the risk of using nuclear weapons and “we are glad to see the parties are pursuing them.”
The South Asian neighbours agreed on Sunday to set up a hotline to avoid nuclear confrontation and continue a ban on nuclear tests, saying they wanted to “promote a stable environment of peace and security.”
The hotline will link the top civil servants in their foreign ministries, according to a joint statement at the end of the two countries’ first talks on nuclear risks since the 1998 atomic tests.
It said an existing hotline between senior military commanders, who have scheduled conversations once a week, would also be “upgraded, dedicated and secured.”
The two countries also reaffirmed a 1999 agreement and said neither country would conduct another nuclear test “unless, in exercise of national sovereignty, it decides that extraordinary events have jeopardised its supreme interests.” afp