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India, Pakistan Search for Progress in Peace Talks

VOA News July 26, 2011

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan have met in New Delhi to lay the groundwork for higher level talks set for Wednesday, as the longtime rival nations look to further the peace dialogue.

Tuesday's meeting between Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir was described as preparatory. The two foreign secretaries were expected to discuss a series of confidence-building measures, including cross-border trade and travel through the disputed Kashmir region.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will meet in the Indian capital Wednesday for talks expected to focus on terrorism, trade and Kashmir.

Before leaving for New Delhi, Foreign Minister Khar said Pakistan wants a results-oriented dialogue with India. She added that both countries are committed a process that leads to durable peace and development in the region.

Peace talks between the South Asian neighbors resumed in February, nearly two years after the 2008 attack by Pakistani militants in India's financial capital, Mumbai, which killed 166 people.

Earlier this month, a series of bomb blasts killed 24 people and injured more than 130 others in Mumbai. Indian authorities have questioned suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen, a banned group linked to Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has claimed past attacks in India.

Pakistan condemned the violence immediately after the bombings.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Thousands have been killed in the insurgency.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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