India and Pakistani officials began their first formal peace talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks on Monday in a meeting pushed into the background by the decision of their leaders to meet during a World Cup cricket match between the two countries. The two home secretaries are the top civil servants in charge of security issues. India�s home secretary GK Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman met in New Delhi to repair relations between nuclear rivals broken off after the Mumbai attacks when militants killed 166 people in a three-day shooting spree. The talks are due to end on Tuesday, but the focus has already turned to Wednesday�s World Cup cricket semi-final between the two old rivals after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to the game. Progress in Monday�s talks was anyway expected to be small. They are about preparing the groundwork for a ministerial meeting in July that would put issues like Kashmir, terrorism and trade on the negotiating table in what is known as the �composite dialogue�. Last month, both countries announced they would resume a formal peace dialogue with a view to resolving all issues between them, including the vexed subject of Kashmir. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, including two over Kashmir. The international community has been pushing both countries back to the negotiating table to help ease tensions in an already volatile region.
BY: The Express Tribune