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India, Pakistan hold first talks since attacks
Taipei Times ^ | 2/26/2010 | AFP

Posted on 02/25/2010 11:29:52 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

ndia and Pakistan held their first formal talks in 14 months yesterday, seeking to put their volatile relationship back on track after it was derailed by the devastating 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir met for three hours in New Delhi for talks that offered little hope of a breakthrough, but carried vital importance for regional peace and stability.

Arguments over the agenda and a brief exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani border guards before the meeting augured badly for major progress, with the probable best-case scenario an agreement to keep on talking.

The mere fact that the nuclear-armed rivals sat down together, however, marks a step forward for two countries that have fought three wars against each other and are seen as vital in bringing stability to neighboring Afghanistan.

“I look forward to our talks,” Rao told reporters as she met Bashir at a former princely palace in the Indian capital.

Bashir said he hoped for “a very good, constructive engagement.”

New Delhi’s offer earlier this month to resume an official peace dialogue that began in 2004 had taken many by surprise. India froze all discussions after the Mumbai carnage 14 months ago in which 10 Islamist gunmen targeted multiple locations in the country’s financial capital, killing 166 people. India blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants and said talks could only resume if Islamabad took concrete steps to bring those responsible to justice and cracked down on militant groups on its soil.

Reflecting domestic political concerns and criticism from the opposition about the initiative, India had insisted that the focus of yesterday’s meet would be on tackling Pakistan-based militancy.

(Excerpt) Read more at taipeitimes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: india; islamabad; mumbai; newdelhi; pakistan; southasia

1 posted on 02/25/2010 11:29:53 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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