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India, Pakistan Begin Talks


Officials from India and Pakistan are meeting in New Delhi for talks aimed at enhancing relations between the two countries and advancing their slow-moving peace process.

India's Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart, Chaudhary Qamar Zaman, are expected to focus on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and exchange views on a number of issues, including counter-terrorism and relaxation of visa rules. Pillai said Monday the first day of talks was "extremely positive."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also invited Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final of the cricket World Cup between the two countries on Wednesday. The two plan to watch the match in the Indian border state of Punjab.

In Islamabad, Mr. Gilani told the Cabinet that the match and the talks preceding it are a way for the two countries to show the world that they "can play together as well as sit and deliberate together."

India broke off formal peace talks with Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. New Delhi blames militants based in Pakistan for carrying out the three-day siege.

The nuclear-capable neighbors have in the past used cricket as a platform to ease relations. In 1987 and 2005 Pakistani leaders traveled to India to watch cricket matches with their counterparts.

Also Monday, Pakistan's interior minister warned the country's team that he is keeping a "close eye" on it following a recent match-fixing scandal. Three of Pakistan's top players were banned from the game recently for fixing a match against England last year.

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