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Terrorism & Security

India, Pakistan talks target rebuilding of trust

A meeting in New Delhi of India and Pakistan's foreign ministers was aimed less at resolving major issues and more at sending a signal that the two countries are trying to avoid further conflict.

By Staff writer / July 27, 2011

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, left and his Pakistan counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar pose for photographs before their talks in New Delhi, India, July 27. The ministers met Wednesday for the first time since the nuclear-armed rivals resumed peace talks in February. Those talks were suspended after Pakistan-based militants attacked the city of Mumbai in November 2008.

Manish Swarup/AP

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Foreign ministers from India and Pakistan met today in New Delhi for the first time since their two countries decided to resume bilateral talks and ease tensions in the region.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna announced that relations between the two countries are now "on the right track," while Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said they had entered a "new era" of cooperation," according to Agence France-Presse.

Although no resolution was reached on Kashmir, one of the thorniest issues, Wednesday's talks resulted in an agreement to work together on combating terrorism and to ease travel and trade across their shared border.

The two also agreed on several ways to improve the life of Kashmiris, though the territory's future remains up in the air, Associated Press reports. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since they were partitioned in 1947, two of them over control of Kashmir. The territory is split between the two countries and claimed by both, despite a budding separatist movement. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khar met with Kashmiri separatists ahead of the bilateral talks – a move that, according to the Pakistani paper Dawn, "soured" the day's discussions.

The goals of this round of talks were not ambitious, given the history between India and Pakistan.

"In this case, talking means not going to war. That is the idea. Dialogue is not to resolve the issues, it's to tell the world they're not going to war," said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian foreign secretary and a former ambassador to the United States, according to Reuters.

The fact that plans for talks continued even after a deadly attack on Mumbai earlier this month supports the belief that the countries are trying to avoid further conflict. India has not yet determined who is responsible for the attack.

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