"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

India & Pakistan Exchange List of Nuclear Installations under 1988 Agreement

 It has been widely reported in the news media (see, for instance, here and here) that India and Pakistan have exchanged a list of nuclear installations further to a Press Release by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The Press Release notes that the exchange of lists was pursuant to an agreement which was signed on 31.12.1988, which came into force on 27.01.1991. Since then, the Release notes, both countries have exchanged lists 33 times (including the present one). This short post discusses the Agreement, known as India Pakistan Non-Attack Agreement, and the title of the Agreement is "Agreement between India and Pakistan on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities". The Non-Attack Agreement was signed in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Non-Attack Agreement is a short one consisting of three articles. The Preamble to the Agreement recognises both countries' "commitment to durable peace and the development of friendly and harmonious bilateral relations; conscious of the role of confidence building measures in promoting such bilateral relations based on mutual trust and goodwill..."

Article 1(ii) defines "nuclear installation or facility" as including "nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, iso-topes separation and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radio-active materials." Thus, the definition is comprehensive where fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel or material in any form is used.

Article 1(i) contains the "Non-Attack" clause and states: "Each party shall refrain from undertaking, encouraging or participating in, directly or indirectly, any action aimed at causing the destruction of, or damage to, any nuclear installation or facility in the other country."

Article 2 is the one which has led to parties exchanging the list of such installation/ facility. It obligates India and Pakistan to exchange lists of the latitude and longitude of nuclear installations/ facilities on the 1st January of each calendar year and includes changes in the latitude/ longitude, perhaps covering extensions/ contractions of such installations/ facilities. The language used is: "Each Contracting Party shall inform the other on 1st January of each calendar year of the latitude and longitude of its nuclear installations and facilities and whenever there is any change."

Article 3 concerns ratification. It states: "This Agreement is subject to ratification. It shall come into force with effect from the date on which the Instruments of Ratification are exchanged." 

At the end of the Agreement, there is an interpretation clause. Although the Agreement is purported to be in Urdu, Hindi and English, it provides that the English text would govern in case of disputes in interpretation. It states: "Done at Islamabad on this Thirty-first day of December 1988, in, two copies each in Urdu, Hindi and English, the English text being authentic in case of any difference or dispute of interpretation."

The Non-Attack Agreement can be downloaded from here.

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