Indian, Pakistani Foreign Ministers Meet in New Delhi

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 3:20 am (UTC-5)
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The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan called for a new “cooperative' relationship between their two countries Wednesday, as they held their first meeting since peace talks resumed earlier this year.

Before the talks in the Indian capital, New Delhi, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. 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.”

Pakistan's newly-appointed foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors should not be “held hostage by the past.”

Wednesday's talks were expected to focus on terrorism, trade and the disputed region of Kashmir.

On Tuesday, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, met in New Delhi to lay the groundwork for Wednesday's higher-level talks. The two foreign secretaries discussed confidence-building measures including cross-border trade and travel through Kashmir.

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.