Monday, March 28, 2011

India and Pakistan discuss anti-terrorism measures

Pakistan's Interior Secretary Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry arrives in India on 27 March 2011 Qamaruz Chaudhry: Talks will "enhance peaceful relations"
Indian and Pakistani officials are meeting to discuss counter-terrorism, the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks and the drugs trade.
The two sides had long been scheduled to hold meetings in Delhi.
But they come one day after Pakistan's PM accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart to attend a cricket match between the South Asian rivals.
India and Pakistan are set to clash in the semi-final of the World Cup in the northern city of Mohali on Wednesday.
Last month, the two countries agreed to resume peace talks "on all issues".
Peace moves were put on hold after Pakistan-based militants attacked Mumbai in 2008, although the sides have met a number of times in the past year.
Pakistan's foreign minister will visit India by July to review progress in the dialogue.
After Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accepted Manmohan Singh's invitation, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari released an Indian who had been imprisoned in Pakistan for 27 years.
Gopal Dass, who was arrested in July 1984 for allegedly crossing the India-Pakistan border by mistake, was pardoned "to honour" an appeal by India's Supreme Court to Pakistan earlier this month to release him on humanitarian grounds, an official statement said.
'Strengthening peace' Pakistan Interior Secretary Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, who is leading his side at the talks, said of the invitation by Mr Singh that "the entire country has appreciated this gesture".
He said the two-day talks were aimed at strengthening peace between the two neighbours.
"Such efforts between the two sides would enhance peaceful relations and promote people-to-people contact," Mr Chaudhry told reporters ahead of the meeting.
The talks between Mr Chaudhry and his Indian counterpart GK Pillai are expected to focus on the Mumbai attacks.
Reports say India will raise what it describes as Pakistan's "lack of sincerity" in co-operating with India in tackling terrorism.
Correspondents say no-one is expecting swift progress on the issues at the heart of the dispute between the two countries.
As well as the main disputes over counter-terrorism and the Himalayan territory of Kashmir - which both countries claim - the two neighbours also differ over economic and smaller territorial issues.
Relations with India have been slowly improving, although talks ended in acrimony last July with a public spat between the two sides over Kashmir.
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