March 28, 2011

Home Secretaries Start Talks in India

Home secretaries of both countries (Pakistan and India) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and G.K. Pillai were meeting on Monday in New Delhi.

The secretaries were discussing counter terrorism and the 2008 Mumbai attacks in a new effort to advance the slow moving peace process.

They were also expected to discuss the drugs trade during two days of talks that are aiming to build on recent momentum and a thaw in relations brought on by the two countries’ shared love of cricket.

India and Pakistan will meet in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup on Wednesday in an explosive encounter that has been seized on by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an opportunity to improve ties.

Singh has invited his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the game with him in what will be a rare meeting between the two leaders, who last sat down for talks in Bhutan in April last year.

India broke off formal peace talks with its neighbour after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 dead and has repeatedly called on Islamabad to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pakistan has charged seven people but none has been convicted.

Last month, both countries announced they would resume a formal peace dialogue with a view to resolving all issues between them, including the vexed subject of Kashmir, which is jointly administered by them.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, including two over Kashmir.

The international community has been pushing both countries back to the negotiating table to help ease tensions in an already volatile region.

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