Indian and Pakistani diplomats held key talks Thursday, meeting in Islamabad for the first time in more than two years to build on a recent thaw that could get peace negotiations back on track. India's top foreign ministry civil servant, Nirupama Rao, and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir went into one-on-one talks and were then to meet with their teams to craft the agenda for a meeting of their ministers on July 15. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has invited his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna to Islamabad as part of a process of reconciliation between two countries that have fought three wars in the past 60 years. The foreign ministers' talks on July 15 will be the third major contact between the two countries in six months. Relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals crashed to a new low after 10 gunmen went on the rampage in Mumbai, leaving 166 people dead after 60 hours of bloodshed in November 2008. New Delhi suspended a four-year peace process and demanded that Islamabad bring to justice the perpetrators of what is considered India's September 11. Rao said India would stress the need for "credible action" from Pakistan over evidence that had been provided to Islamabad on the Mumbai attacks. "We have underlined the need for Pakistan to take this evidence seriously, to take it on board and to take substantive action in response to what we have conveyed to them," she told reporters this week. "Obviously, this issue will form a part of our discussions with the Pakistan government during the forthcoming visit." The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers met in April on the sidelines of a regional summit in Bhutan, which set in motion a process to revive suspended contacts at various levels of government. Pakistan says issues such as peace, security and confidence-building would be up for discussion Thursday. "Pakistan looks forward to a sustained, meaningful and uninterrupted engagement with India to discuss and resolve all outstanding issues," spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram is due to arrive in Islamabad for a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Thursday. On the other hand, dampening expectations from the Indo-Pak talks, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said "nothing spectacular or dramatic" can be expected from the upcoming foreign secretary level talks. "I don't expect anything spectacular or dramatic because the Indo-Pak relationship is so complex," he told media Wednesday in Mumbai. Also, some analysts warned that the best outcome of Thursday's talks would merely be more talks and not a resumption of the peace process. "I don't expect much from these talks unless India is prepared to talk about issues other than terrorism," Pakistani analyst Hasan Askari told AFP. "Therefore the talks may not produce anything significant which means resumption of comprehensive talks between India and Pakistan," he said.
By: ARY News

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