Indian foreign secretary due in Pakistan to discuss

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 7:59 AM
Indian foreign secretary due in Pakistan to discuss

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - India's Foreign Secretary is due to visit Pakistan this month to discuss Kashmir, a Pakistani official said on Tuesday, the first formal talks between the two rivals on their core dispute since the Mumbai attacks in 2008 froze their peace process.

India broke off peace negotiations with Pakistan after the attack by Pakistan-based militants that killed 166 people, but the two sides agreed earlier this year to resume talks.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir were assigned to tackle the territorial argument over Kashmir, which lies at the heart of tension between the two nuclear-armed states.

"She (Nirupama Rao) is expected here later this month to discuss peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir as well friendly exchanges," the Pakistani foreign ministry official told Reuters.

Rao is due to retire on July 31.

The neighbors have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, and their rivalry complicates Western efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and the South Asian region.

The two countries have been under pressure from the United States to try to ease tensions that spill over into Afghanistan.

They have held talks on a range of issues including a border dispute over a river estuary, a row over Siachen glacier -- the highest battlefield in the Himalayan region -- as well as ways to build commercial ties.

(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; additional reporting by Henry Foy in New Delhi; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)