ADDU: Pakistan's foreign minister said Wednesday she hopes to discuss with her Indian counterpart ways of closing a "trust deficit" between the archrivals and combating regional terrorism.
Pakistan's Hina Rabbani Khar and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna participated in a foreign ministers' meeting before an eight-nation South Asian summit in Maldives.
Khar told reporters that Pakistan would like for "the trust deficit that (has existed) between the two countries for many years to be reduced. ...
"We have many, many long miles to move ahead still, and we hope that this cooperation, with mutual trust more than anything else, ... we will be able to move on."
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has its 17th meeting on Addu atoll in this Indian Ocean archipelago starting Thursday. SAARC representatives are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives.
The two foreign ministers will have talks before bilateral discussions between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani scheduled on the sidelines of the summit Thursday.
Khar said that the discussions are expected to focus on regional terrorism.
"Nobody can deny the fact that this is a major challenge the region faces. Pakistan is a country that has suffered in the hands of terror more than any other country may (have) in the region or in the world," Khar said.
Any issue that is a challenge to the region or to the two countries could be discussed, she said.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since they were carved off from each other in 1947, with the disputed status of Kashmir the main flashpoint. Both countries claim all of Kashmir.
India has also been hit by terror attacks by militants trained in Pakistan, allegedly with the support of the Pakistani military. An attack in 2008 in Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists froze a slow moving peace process that has only recently resumed.
In the latest positive sign, Pakistan last week announced normalized trade ties with India, granting it "Most Favored Nation" status and enabling its producers to export more goods to India.