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India Offers To Resume Dialogue with Pakistan བོད་སྐད།


India has offered to resume high level talks with Pakistan has raising hopes of a thaw between the South Asian rivals. Ties between the two countries have been strained since the deadly 2008 terror attacks in India's financial hub, Mumbai.

An official in the Indian foreign ministry said Friday India wants to enter the proposed dialogue with Pakistan with an open and positive mind.

India has invited Pakistan's foreign secretary to New Delhi for open-ended discussions on any issues between the two nations, including counter-terrorism.

Pakistan has called it a positive move. The two countries are expected to finalize the agenda and the date for the talks in the next few days.

The offer of high level talks marks the first concrete move by India to normalize relations since the deadly bomb attacks in Mumbai over a year ago.

New Delhi blamed the strikes on Pakistan-based militants, and suspended a peace dialogue with Islamabad. India insisted it would not resume talks until Islamabad took action against the perpetrators.

But earlier this week, India's foreign minister S.M. Krishna signaled a softening in New Delhi's stand, saying that a few steps by Pakistan in investigating the attacks could help restore relations.

A foreign affairs analyst in New Delhi, Amitabh Mattoo, says the decision to hold talks comes amid recognition that talks with Pakistan represents the only way ahead.

"There is no real alternative to engaging the leadership. I think it is realization and recognition that there are limits to what you can do through coercive diplomacy or not speaking, and those limits have been reached. Now is the time for more substantive talks and hopefully talks that will lead to some more positive outcome."

A visit by India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram to Islamabad later this month for a regional security meeting is also expected to provide an opportunity for the two sides to discuss their troubled relations. Chidambaram will be the most senior Indian leader to visit Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks.

In recent months, India has faced international pressure to resume a dialogue with Pakistan. The United States hopes that a lowering of tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors will allow Islamabad to focus on fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A peace dialogue that opened in 2004 helped improve relations between the two countries. But progress in resolving their deep differences was slow, largely due to a history of deep distrust between the two countries.

India accuses Pakistan of not doing enough to clamp down on militants operating from its soil, while Islamabad feels New Delhi drags its feet on addressing their dispute over Kashmir - the Himalayan region that is divided between them.

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