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Central & South Asia
India and Pakistan discuss security
Interior ministers meet amid continuing recriminations over 2008 attack on Mumbai.
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2010 21:21 GMT
New Delhi wants a crackdown on Pakistan-based groups planning attacks on India [Reuters]

The interior ministers of India and Pakistan are set to meet for further talks after beginning key discussions about security issues.

Friday's meeting between Pakistan's Rehman Malik and India's Palaniappan Chidambaram was described a "good beginning" as the two countries seek to improve relations damaged by years of mistrust and suspicion.

"Talks were held in a very good atmosphere and good topics were discussed. I can only say that there is a good message for the people of Pakistan and India, that there has been a very good beginning," Malik said after the meeting in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

The ministers' discussion followed positive preparatory meetings on Thursday, fuelling optimism that the relationship between the nuclear-armed rivals could improve in coming months.

Pakistan is understood to be keen to resume full discussions on range of issues after India broke off talks following the Mumbai attacks. But New Delhi has so far limited discussion to efforts to combat militancy until Pakistan proves it is taking the issue seriously.

Foreign ministers meeting

The meeting between the interior ministers is being seen as a precursor for a potential meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries slated for mid-July.

Top diplomats of the respective foreign ministries met in Islamabad on Thursday, in talks described as being marked by "a great deal of cordiality, sincerity and earnestness".
  
"The input from the meeting will help the Indian foreign minister to make up his mind whether to start the dialogue or to keep on dragging," Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Pakistan- based analyst, said.

India believes that Pakistan supports armed groups operating within its borders in a bid to undermine New Delhi's claim to the part of Kashmir that it controls.

New Delhi also blames a Pakistan-based armed group of carrying out the audacious attack on Mumbai, India's financial capital, that left more than 166 people dead.

India's leaders have made tackling the groups a pre-condition for the resumption of comprehensive talks over disputed issues such as Kashmir and water resources.

"Their main stress continues to be on terrorism. When they talk of confidence building, basically they are talking of terrorism," Rizvi said.

Source:
Aljazeera and agencies
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