Indian, Pakistani Foreign Ministers Call for New Cooperation

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 9:40 am (UTC-5)
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The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan have hailed a “new era of cooperation,” after meeting for the first time since peace talks resumed earlier this year.

While Wednesday's talks in the Indian capital, New Delhi, produced no major breakthroughs, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said relations were on the right track. Pakistan's newly-appointed foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the two countries can reach a common destination, speaking of a “mindset change” on both sides.

During the meeting, the two officials reiterated their commitment to work together to combat terrorism and increase trade. They also agreed on several measures to improve life for Kashmiris, such as increasing the number of cross-border trading days from two to four and expanding travel opportunities for tourism and religious pilgrimages.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars for control of the Kashmir Valley. Ahead the talks, Khar met with separatist leaders from the disputed region.

Before the meeting, Krishna told reporters that cooperation with Pakistan is in the interest of peace, not only for the two nations, but for “the entire region and beyond.”

Peace talks between the South Asian neighbors resumed in February, nearly two years after 166 people were killed in an attack by Pakistani militants in India's financial capital, Mumbai.

Earlier this month, a series of bomb blasts killed 24 people and wounded more than 130 others in Mumbai. Indian authorities have questioned suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen, a banned group linked to Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has claimed past attacks in India.

Pakistan condemned the violence immediately after the bombings.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Thousands have been killed in the insurgency.