Pakistan, India to discuss Kashmir next week
NEW DELHI – India's foreign secretary will visit Pakistan next week to discuss the disputed area of Kashmir and the continuing threat posed by terrorism, an Indian official said Friday.
The meeting would mark the first formal talks between the two countries on Kashmir since India broke off peace negotiations in 2008 after terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.
Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India, and both countries claim it in its entirety. The two nations have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
Vishnu Prakash, External Affairs Ministry spokesman, said Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao would visit Islamabad June 23-24 and meet her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir.
They would discuss peace and security, Kashmir, the promotion of friendly exchanges and the continuing threat posed by terrorism, Prakash said in a statement.
India is going ahead with the talks despite revelations made by a Pakistani-American in a trial in Chicago last week that Pakistani intelligence was involved in plotting and funding the Mumbai attacks. Islamabad denies the charge.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the trial did not reveal any information that Indian authorities did not already possess.
Last month, Indian and Pakistani officials met in the Indian capital and agreed to continue working to reduce tension on a glacier battlefield in the Himalayas where grueling conditions have killed more troops than hostile fire.
The home secretaries from both sides met in New Delhi in March and agreed to set up a terrorism hotline and to cooperate on the Mumbai attack investigation — a major step in placating India's concerns. The secretaries for commerce also met in April.