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Pakistan, India Agree to Work on Improving Ties

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on Sunday agreed to cooperate on reducing bilateral tensions that escalated this year following a series of cross-border killings, Reuters reported.

The two leaders held their first meeting since Sharif was elected to office in May on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly gathering in New York City.

They agreed that achieving "peace and tranquility across the LOC [Line of Control] is a precondition" to any broader improvement of relations between the two longtime nuclear-armed antagonists, Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon informed journalists.

In their weekend addresses to the General Assembly, Singh and Sharif each expressed a desire to see Pakistan-India ties set on more normal footing. The two nations have fought three wars. There has also been decades of cross-border violence and terrorist attacks. 

Regardless of what Singh and Sharif might wish as individuals, they are constrained by local realities -- namely the hawkish views held by politicians and the armed forces in each country, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

If bilateral ties are to improve, Islamabad must first eliminate the "terrorist machine" that uses Pakistan as a base for carrying out attacks on India, Singh said in an apparent allusion to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group responsible for the November 2008 coordinated assault on the Indian city of Mumbai.

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