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India, Pakistan Agree to Continue Constructive Dialogue

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met Sunday in the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since July 2010.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, met on the sidelines of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference.

The two diplomats said after the talks they agreed on the need for a continued dialogue between the two nuclear-armed neighbors to resolve all outstanding issues.

They also agreed to make progress toward another meeting between the countries' foreign ministers. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna met in Islamabad last July 15.

India suspended a peace dialogue with Pakistani after the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead. The Indian government accused the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the 60-hour siege.

India also accused Pakistan of delaying an investigation into the Mumbai attacks. But Islamabad has bristled at criticism that they are not doing enough, noting that seven suspects in the attacks have been put on trial.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Two of those wars were over control of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, divided between the two countries and claimed in full by both.

Muslim separatists in Indian Kashmir have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with Pakistan since 1989. More than 60,000 people have died in the conflict.