Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
India, Pakistan Tout Progress in Relationship
The leaders of Pakistan and India on Thursday vowed to begin a "new chapter" in bilateral relations, marking recent steps by the longtime nuclear-armed antagonists to move beyond their fractious past, Reuters reported (see GSN, July 28).
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Indian equivalent, Manmohan Singh, met for close to an hour on an island in the Maldives.
"The next round of talks will be more positive, more constructive and will open a new chapter in the history of both countries," Gilani said to journalists following the meeting, which took place on the margins of a South Asian regional summit. "I can only assure you that I discussed all core issues."
Outstanding topics between the two states include the disputed Kashmir territory, terrorism, the sharing of natural resources and their respective nuclear arsenals. Pakistan and India have gone to war three times since 1947.
New Delhi and Islamabad earlier this year renewed their bilateral peace process after a multiyear hiatus prompted by the 2008 terrorist attacks that killed over 160 people in the Indian city of Mumbai. India blamed Pakistan for not doing enough to target the extremists that operated from its territory.
"We will resume this dialogue with the expectation that all issues which have bedeviled relations between the two countries will be discussed," according to Singh. "The time has come to write a new chapter in the history of the relationship of the two countries."
"Every time we have met, we have held very extensive discussions of relations of the two countries. These have yielded some positive results, but more needs to be done," he said of his conversations with Gilani.
No specifics were provided on the time line or setting for the next bilateral peace talks.
Pakistani judicial experts are slated to travel to India where they will probe the Mumbai attacks and interview the sole surviving member of the militants that carried out the assault, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced (Mukherjee/Hull, Reuters, Nov. 10).
The two nations' top foreign policy officials held their own meeting on Wednesday in the Maldives, Agence France-Presse reported.
Touting a "very positive atmosphere" between Islamabad and New Delhi, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said the "trust deficit" was narrowing and that the two sides could begin to develop a "joint strategy" to combat militant extremism.
Krishna's counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, also had glowing words for journalists: "I can certainly say from our side that we look at this environment to have improved considerably. The trust deficit that typically existed between the two countries for many, many years has been reduced to a large order."
Still, she acknowledged, the two countries "have many, many more miles to move ahead" before resolving all issues, particularly Kashmir (Amal Jayasinghe, Agence France-Presse/Google News, Nov. 9).
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