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India, Pakistan Sign Pact on Nuclear Weapons Security

  • Anjana Pasricha

India and Pakistan have signed a pact on nuclear weapons security and pledged their renewed commitment to a peace process. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the foreign ministers of the two countries met in the Indian capital days after a deadly attack on a cross border train between the neighbors.

The pact on cutting the risk of a nuclear arms accident in the region was signed at the end of talks between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart, Khursheed Kasuri, on Wednesday.

Officials say the pact includes confidence-building measures related to their nuclear arsenals. Both countries tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

The meeting between the Indian and Pakistani ministers had been scheduled to improve trust and review a peace process, centered on the two countries' rival claims to Kashmir.

But on Wednesday, the focus moved to the deadly blasts that killed 68 people on Sunday midnight as they tore through a train traveling from Delhi to the Pakistani city of Lahore. Many Pakistanis were among the victims.

India's Mukherjee said the attack had strengthened the resolve of both countries to persevere with the peace process that began three years ago.

"Government of India will make every effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous act," he said. "The holding of the joint commission meeting as scheduled is a reaffirmation of the commitment of both India and Pakistan to the dialogue process."

Pakistan's Kasuri also stressed the need for the neighbors to work more closely.

"There are no words strong enough to condemn this act of heinous crime. Of course it has underlined the need for cooperation," he said.

India says it will share the results of the investigation into the train attack with Pakistan.

Political observers say the new spirit of cooperation between the rivals is in marked contrast to the past, when similar terror attacks in India have raised tensions between them. Bomb blasts on commuter trains in Mumbai last July for example put the peace process on hold for four months after New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups for the attacks.

The peace process has been moving slowly and a breakthrough on their key dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir is nowhere in sight. But relations between the neighbors have improved considerably.

Pakistan and India also say they will hold fresh talks on withdrawing troops from a strategic glacier in Kashmir, described as the world's highest battlefield.

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