NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan on Sunday exchanged the customary lists of nuclear installations and prisoners on New Year's day. While New Delhi shared lists of 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 fishermen currently in Indian custody, Pakistan shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen who are Indians or are believed to be Indians in its custody.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities."
The two nuclear-armed neighbours exchange the list of nuclear installations every year on January 1. These installations are "covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between India and Pakistan". The MEA said that this is the 32nd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.
On the list of prisoners exchanged, the MEA in a separate statement said, "The government has called for the early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody. In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and 02 Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentences and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan."
The statement added that Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 30 fishermen and 22 civilian prisoners in Pakistan's custody, who are believed to be Indian.
The prisoners’ lists are exchanged twice every year.
The MEA added, "India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters... India has also urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 71 Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan. Pakistan has been requested to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, pending their release and repatriation to India."
In its statement, the Pakistani foreign ministry said, "Pakistan has requested the early release and repatriation of its 51 civilian prisoners and 94 fishermen, who have completed their respective sentences and whose national status stands confirmed. Furthermore, a request for the grant of consular access to missing defence personnel from the 1965 and 1971 wars and special consular access to 56 civil prisoners has also been made."