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Indian, Pakistani Officials Hold Talks on Trust-Building

  • Anjana Pasricha

Indian and Pakistani officials have held two days of talks in New Delhi on ways to boost trust between the nuclear-armed rivals. The talks are part of a slow-moving peace process between the two countries. Anjana Pasricha has a report.

Officials from India and Pakistan say they have reviewed measures that will help cut the risk of accidents with their nuclear arsenals.

Earlier this year, India and Pakistan signed a deal to help avoid an accidental nuclear conflict.

In discussions in New Delhi on Thursday and Friday, both sides also reiterated their commitment to upholding a ceasefire in the disputed Kashmir area.

The rivals are also considering the possibility of developing common positions on security issues at the United Nations.

The talks are part of a larger peace process started in 2004 after the two countries came to the brink of war.

There has been criticism of the slow pace of the dialogue and its failure to produce any breakthrough on their core dispute, Kashmir, which both countries claim but is divided between them.

However an expert on South Asian affairs in New Delhi, S.D. Muni, says the meetings this week show that both sides intend to persevere with the peace process.

"To keep the peace process on is a positive in itself. So I would very strongly support a peace process at whatever speed and pace it is going on. And one would hope it would pick up the pace and become far more positive than what it is today. The politically loaded issues will still have problems, there is no doubt about it," said Muni.

Analysts say the process has been slowed because of domestic political turmoil in Pakistan.

But they also point to several positive outcomes. It has helped lower tensions along the volatile Kashmir border. The countries have opened transport links, allowing people to move more freely across the border and start limited trade.

However, New Delhi's suspicions that Islamic militants in Pakistan sponsor terrorism in India continue to cast a shadow on the talks.

The issue will come up for discussion Monday when officials from both sides hold another round of talks to aimed at putting in place an anti-terrorism mechanism.

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