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Pakistan, India Continue Dialogue to Improve Ties

by AFP
Narinder Nanu—AFP

Narinder Nanu—AFP

Foreign secretaries of neighboring countries will meet in Islamabad next month.

The foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India are set to meet in Islamabad next month in the neighboring countries’ latest attempt at improving ties.

The proposed meeting, announced by Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Wednesday, comes after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi following the Hindu hardliner’s inauguration in May.

“Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh spoke to her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry over the telephone this afternoon and … it was agreed that the two foreign secretaries would meet in Islamabad on Aug. 25 to carry forward the dialogue process,” the ministry said in a statement. “In keeping with the vision of the two prime ministers to improve and establish good neighborly relations, the foreign secretaries agreed that the dialogue process between the two countries should be result-oriented,” it added.

Bilateral relations broke down after gunmen allegedly backed by a militant group based in Pakistan attacked Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 people were killed, though relations have recovered slightly since then.

An unresolved territorial dispute over Kashmir in the Himalayan region is also a source of ongoing tension, while Pakistan accuses India of fomenting a separatist insurgency in Balochistan province.

Trade between the two countries is presently around $2.5 billion, with Indian exports accounting for the majority. Pakistani business leaders believe greater trade would be a major boon to their stuttering economy, though according to reports the military is against such a move.

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