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Pakistan, India Agree to Resume Talks

  • Ayaz Gul

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (L) shakes hand with Pakistan's top adviser for foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2015.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (L) shakes hand with Pakistan's top adviser for foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2015.

Pakistan and India have agreed to resume a stalled wide-ranging dialogue aimed at normalizing ties and resolving long-running territorial and other disputes.

The agreement came at a meeting Wednesday in Islamabad between visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's top foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz.

“India and Pakistan have decided to resume dialogue,” the Indian minister told reporters after the meeting.

A joint statement issued later said the two sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it and “continue to address all issues connected to terrorism.”

“Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and directed the Foreign Secretaries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings,” it added.

2008 Mumbai attack tensions linger

Traditionally strained relations between the two nuclear-armed archrivals have faced challenges since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

New Delhi has long insisted the bloodshed was planned on Pakistani soil and wants Islamabad to bring planners to justice. The tensions have prevented the two from holding a sustained peace dialogue to improve ties.

Wednesday’s statement referred to the incident. “The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trail.”

Swaraj is the first Indian foreign minister to have visited Pakistan in three years. She arrived in Islamabad to attend a regional ministerial conference on Afghanistan that Pakistan hosted on Wednesday and held bilateral talks on the sidelines.

Several suspected Islamist militants are being tried but officials say India has not provided sufficient evidence to link them to the Mumbai carnage and win convictions.

The territorial dispute over Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety is a major source of tensions between India and Pakistan. The divided Himalayan region has sparked two of the three wars between the two countries since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

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