Indian foreign minister says high-level talks with Pakistan to resume

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 10:06 AM

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - India will resume high-level talks with rival Pakistan, the Indian foreign minister said on Wednesday, raising hopes that relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors may be thawing slightly.

"India and Pakistan have decided to resume dialogue," Sushma Swaraj told a news conference in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

The last meeting in the process known as 'Bilateral Dialogue' was in September 2012, before elections in both countries. Relations between the two powers chilled after Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, became India's prime minister last year.

But hopes of progress rose after the national security advisers (NSA) from both sides met in Bangkok last weekend.

"The NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism," said a joint statement issued by Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's prime ministerial adviser on foreign affairs.

The statement also referred to attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people. India has long maintained the attackers were directed from Pakistan.

"The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial," Wednesday's statement said.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming separate nations during independence from colonial Britain in 1947. Two of the wars have been over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

(Reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Gareth Jones)