Pak, India to resume talks next month

Islamabad, October 17:

Pakistan and India will resume peace talks next month in New Delhi after the process was put on ice by July’s deadly Mumbai bombings, the foreign office here said today.

The foreign secretary-level meeting will be held on November 14 and 15 in the Indian capital New Delhi, Pakistan foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told AFP.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had agreed at a breakthrough encounter in Havana, Cuba last month to resume negotiations focusing on the disputed territory of Kashmir. “The governments of Pakistan and India have agreed to hold the foreign secretary level review meeting of the composite dialogue on 14-15 November 2006 in New Delhi,” the Pakistani foreign ministry added in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from India.

“Composite dialogue” is the name given by the nuclear-armed South Asian nations for the peace process launched in 2004 by Musharraf and then-Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee. The dialogue however has moved slowly, with the only major result being a bus link across the Line of Control, the military ceasefire line dividing the Indian and Pakistani sectors of Kashmir.

Singh said last week during a visit to London that New Delhi would provide Islamabad with evidence of Pakistani involvement in the serial blasts on commuter trains in Mumbai in July that killed 186 people.

Indian authorities have alleged that Pakistan’s elite spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group helped plant the bombs.