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Indian, Pakistan Foreign Ministers to Meet in Islamabad

  • Ayaz Gul

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan are set to meet Thursday in Islamabad to try to revive bilateral dialogue between their two nuclear armed nations. Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters he has come with a "message of peace" for Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said his visit to Islamabad marks a new beginning in the efforts India and Pakistan are making to improve bilateral relations. He said his country is committed to resolving all issues with Pakistan through peaceful dialogue based on mutual trust and confidence.

"I am carrying with me a message of peace and friendship from the people of India and we hope to undertake this voyage of peace – however long and odious, jointly with the government and the people of Pakistan," says Krishna.

It is Krishna's first visit to Pakistan since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which Indian officials blame on Pakistan-based militant groups with links to the country's main intelligence agency.

Pakistan says the deadly assault in Mumbai was planned, in part, on its soil and it has put several suspected militants on trial. But officials in Islamabad say India has not provided enough evidence to link the suspects to the violence in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.

Shortly before India's foreign minister arrived in Pakistan, a top security official in New Delhi accused the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, of controlling and coordinating the Mumbai attacks.

Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told the Indian Express newspaper that an American, David Headley, who is detained in the United States in connection with the attacks, has disclosed the information to Indian interrogators.

Pakistan says it was not involved in the attacks.

Indian Foreign Minister Krishna says his country's home minister visited Pakistan last month and shared new information with his Pakistani interlocutors.

"I also look forward to receiving feedback on the issues raised on our core concern of terrorism, particularly in the light of discussions our home minister [P. Chidambaram] had in Pakistan in the context of the interrogation of David Coleman Headley, regarding the Mumbai terrorist attack," Krishna said.

Critics say they do not expect a major breakthrough resulting from this week's talks between India and Pakistan. But they say the engagement will likely help reduce bilateral tensions that will allow Pakistan to focus more on securing its border with Afghanistan, where U.S.-led international forces are fighting the Taliban insurgency.