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Pakistani Foreign Minister Arrives in India for Talks


Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri has arrived in the Indian capital for talks as both countries vow not to let terrorist attacks undermine an ongoing peace process. Anjana Pasricha reports for VOA from New Delhi that Indian police have released sketches of two men suspected of involvement in deadly bombings that killed 68 people on a train bound from New Delhi to Pakistan.

Indian police have prepared sketches of two suspects, who they say boarded the train in New Delhi, but jumped off about 15 minutes before two bombs sparked a fire in two cars.

Senior police official Sharad Kumar says the men got off after an argument with the conductor, saying they were on the wrong train.

"The first person was ... plumpish, having mustache, he was wearing a shirt, pant and a jacket ... as per the eyewitness ... the second person was in the age group of 26-27 years, he was slim, and he was wearing a muffler on the head ... and they were speaking a local language," Kumar says.

Police have recovered a suitcase packed with plastic bottles filled with kerosene and petrol, and digital timers from the site of the blasts.

Mr. Kumar says the explosions were carried out by a militant group, but police do not know which outfit was involved.

The bombs exploded Sunday midnight, about an hour after the train had left the Indian capital for the Pakistani city of Lahore. Many Pakistani nationals died in the attack.

As investigators pursued all leads, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri arrived in New Delhi for a previously scheduled round of peace talks. He stressed the need for both countries to work together to fight terror after visiting injured Pakistani nationals in a Delhi hospital.

"Incidents like these, which are very heart-rending and which affect both countries and both peoples can only add to the urgency of the need for cooperation," Kasuri says. "Terrorism has become a world wide phenomenon and we will need to cooperate with each other."

Kasuri will meet his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday to review key issues such as their dispute over Kashmir. The two countries are also expected to sign an agreement on nuclear weapons security. Officials say terror will be an important issue following the train attacks.

Officials on both sides say the attack was timed before the Pakistani minister's arrival to derail their improving relationship. But both countries have vowed to push ahead with peace talks.

Unlike the past, New Delhi has avoided any finger-pointing at Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups, which have been blamed for previous terror attacks in India.

The Delhi-Lahore train service was restored in 2004 as part of a peace process that has moved slowly, but helped lower tensions between the nuclear rivals.