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India, Pakistan ministers focus on rebuilding trust

Other News Materials 27 July 2011 13:59
India and Pakistan Wednesday held discussions on a recently-revived peace process, and were expected to ease travel restrictions between the divided and disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir as a confidence-building measure.
India, Pakistan ministers focus on rebuilding trust

India and Pakistan Wednesday held discussions on a recently-revived peace process, and were expected to ease travel restrictions between the divided and disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir as a confidence-building measure, dpa reported.

Foreign Minister SM Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar held consultations at New Delhi's Hyderabad House to review the dialogue which covers eight contentious issues including cross-border terrorism.

The peace talks initiated in 2004 had stalled after the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani gunmen which claimed 166 lives but both sides decided to re-engage in February.

Officials from both sides have held a series of meetings over the past six months as part of the dialogue.

Ahead of the talks, Krishna and Khar pledged to build a cooperative relationship between their countries, but the two sides have different priorities.

India has said it was ready to discuss "all issues with an open mind" but its focus would be on pressing for justice for victims of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan was keen on raising the issue of Kashmir, a source of ongoing tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours who have fought two wars over the region since their 1947 independence.

In a gesture intended to improve confidence and mutual goodwill, officials said more frequent cross-Kashmir bus links, and an increase in the number of trading days across the ceasefire line from two to four per week, would be announced after the talks.

More trading points and multiple entry permits for those in India-administered Kashmir could follow, official reports said.

The discussions were seen mainly as a step towards building trust and charting the roadmap for a new round of peace talks.

The talks at Delhi were the first time the two countries' foreign ministers have met since last year.

Khar was due to meet top Indian leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later in the day and leave for Lahore Thursday noon.

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