South Asia rivals resume peace talks

NEW DELHI – India and Pakistan held high-level peace talks today for the first time since the 2008 Mumbai attacks in an effort to rebuild confidence and reduce tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The one-day talks in New Delhi between the two countries’ foreign secretaries is seen as an important achievement that could help Pakistan concentrate its resources on supporting the U.S. in its fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

The United States has pushed the two sides to resume talks.

Few were expecting any breakthroughs on the divisive issues that have sparked three wars and countless skirmishes between the neighbors over the past six decades.

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said he was “not very optimistic” about the talks.

The talks have no agenda and either side can bring up any issues it wants to, “but we are not going to enter into substantive talks on every issue,” he told the NDTV news channel.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir smiled briefly for the television cameras before disappearing into their closed-door meeting.

“We look forward to a very good constructive engagement,” Bashir said.


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