India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged for the 28th consecutive year a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.
The two countries also exchanged details of civilian prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s jails.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India handed over to Pakistan a lists of 249 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
Pakistan gave India lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed-to-be-Indians.
The two countries, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.
The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and came into force on January 27, 1991, says that the two countries will inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on January 1 of every calendar year.
This is the 28th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.
The two countries exchanged lists of prisoners and fishermen in keeping with the provisions of a 2008 agreement under which such lists are shared on January 1 and July 1 every year.
The MEA said that India has also called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats.
“In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed,” it said.
“Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation,” it said.
India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.
To take forward the understanding reached to address the humanitarian issues, especially with respect to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners, India has already shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical experts team to visit Pakistan to meet the prisoners.
The MEA said that India has also asked Pakistan to expedite the visit of the panel.
“Pakistan has also been requested to expedite the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody at the earliest,” it said.
The two countries have adhered to the practice of exchanging the lists of prisoners and nuclear installations despite recurring tensions.