India-Pakistan Non-Attack Agreement

The Agreement obligates India and Pakistan to refrain from undertaking, encouraging, or participating in actions aimed at causing destruction or damage to nuclear installations or facilities in each country.

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31 December 1988

Entered into Force

1 January 1991


Treaty Overview

The India-Pakistan Non-Attack Agreement is a unique bilateral agreement that expands, in a sense, the scope of Articles 56 and 15 of the first and second protocols to the Geneva Convention. These articles state, “Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.”


The agreement provides for refraining from undertaking, encouraging, or participating in, directly or indirectly, any action aimed at causing destruction or damage to any nuclear installation or facility in each country. It describes a nuclear installation or facility and requires each party to inform the other of the precise locations (latitude and longitude) of installations and facilities by 1 January of each calendar year and whenever there is any change. The agreement does not provide for detailed disclosures of nuclear-related activities.

The agreement defines nuclear installation or facilities against which attack is prohibited as “nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes 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 radioactive materials.”

India has consistently proposed extending the agreement to include non-attack on civilian and economic targets, but Pakistan has continuously rejected these proposals. However, India’s recent draft nuclear doctrine involves a deterrent capability based on unacceptable damage to an opponent; thus, the likelihood of expanding the agreement to include counter-value (non-military) targets may now be small.

Starting in January 1992, India and Pakistan have exchanged lists of their respective civilian nuclear-related facilities. However, each side has questioned the completeness of the other’s list.

Verification and Compliance

The Agreement requires an annual exchange of lists detailing the location of all nuclear-related facilities in each country. The measure further pledges both sides not to attack listed facilities. Though lists of nuclear facilities have been exchanged each year, the definition of nuclear facilities to be declared is unclear. There are no compliance measures in this Agreement.

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Uranium is a metal with the atomic number 92. See entries for enriched uranium, low enriched uranium, and highly enriched uranium.
Isotope: Any two or more forms of an element having identical or very closely related chemical properties and the same atomic number (the same number of protons in their nuclei), but different atomic weights or mass numbers (a different number of neutrons in their nuclei). Uranium-238 and uranium-235 are isotopes of uranium.
Reprocessing: The chemical treatment of spent nuclear fuel to separate the remaining usable plutonium and uranium for re-fabrication into fuel, or alternatively, to extract the plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.
Irradiate: To expose to some form of radiation.


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