Pakistan's ambassador to India has defended his recent talks with Kashmiri separatists, saying dialogue is the only way to find a lasting peace.

Abdul Basit spoke Wednesday in New Delhi, two days after India called off diplomatic talks with Pakistan because Basit met with separatist leaders.

India said the meeting undermined efforts to thaw relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors. But India has tolerated such meetings in the past, which suggests the country's new government is taking a harder line against Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir, since independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries control parts of the Himalayan region and claim it in its entirety.