By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Longtime rivals India and Pakistan have exchanged the lists of their respective nuclear facilities and installations, Islamabad said on Saturday.
The annual exchange took place in accordance with the agreement on "Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities" signed between the two nuclear neighbors in December 1988 and ratified in January 1991, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
India also said it exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities with Pakistan.
“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
According to the agreement, both countries should inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on Jan. 1 of each year.
This practice has been followed consecutively since 1992, the statements noted.
- Nuclear arms race
Pakistan and India are among a few select countries with nuclear arsenals.
India joined the nuclear club long before Pakistan, in 1974, prompting Islamabad to follow suit. Pakistan silently developed its own nuclear capability in the 1980s, when it was an ally of the US in the first Afghan war against the crumbling Soviet Union.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India currently possesses between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds between 90 and 110.
Meanwhile, a number of international think tanks, which blame China for assisting Pakistan's nuclear program, believe the size of Islamabad's nuclear arsenal will cross the 200 mark within the next five years.
*Ahmad Adil in New Delhi contributed to this story