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India And Pakistan Restart Formal Talks Process   
 
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25-Feb-2010  
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India and Pakistan have begun their first formal talks since the devastating attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) at the end of 2008.

On the eve of the talks in Delhi, the two states exchanged terse allegations over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Indian border guards in Kashmir said they came under fire from Pakistan on Wednesday, a claim denied by Islamabad.

The conflicting claims coincided with the arrival of the Pakistani foreign secretary in Delhi for the talks. Thursday's meetings are the first between the two nuclear-armed neighbours since the Mumbai attacks 15 months ago. India says those attacks were carried out by Pakistan-based militants. Pakistan has admitted they were partly planned on its soil.

Wednesday's shooting in the south of Indian-administered Kashmir is alleged to have taken place in the Samba area. "The firing from across the border started early morning. A BSF [Border Security Force] personnel was injured," Vinod Sharma, a spokesman for the border guards, told Reuters news agency.

"I have come here to bridge the differences [and] I am hopeful of a positive outcome." Mr Bashir who met Kashmiri separatist leaders in India on Wednesday is leading a five-member delegation and will meet his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao for closed-door talks.

Correspondents say the meeting could eventually pave the way for the resumption of the formal peace process broken off after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 174 people were killed, nine of them gunmen.
But the two sides have very different views of what should be on the agenda during the talks.

Pakistan wants to discuss a range of issues including Kashmir, which both countries claim in its entirety. India, however, says these are "talks about talks" and there is only one item to talk about - terrorism. If the two sides agree a date to meet again soon, that in itself will be seen as a small achievement.

 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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