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Pakistan, India to continue peace talks

Associated Press / June 25, 2011

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — India’s foreign secretary said yesterday that her country remains concerned about the threat of terrorism, but is committed to peace talks with Pakistan that have stumbled since the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Nirupama Rao’s comments capped two days of meetings in Islamabad between delegations from the nuclear-armed archrivals — the first formal talks between the neighbors on the disputed region of Kashmir since the attacks in the Indian financial hub.

Both nations claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

The siege of Mumbai killed 166 people and has been blamed on Pakistani militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group Pakistan’s spy agencies are suspected of nurturing as a proxy fighting force in Kashmir. Pakistan has denied any state institutions played a role in the attack on Mumbai.

“We must do away with the shadow of the gun and extremist violence because it’s only in the atmosphere free of terror and violence that we can discuss the resolution of such a complex issue’’ as Kashmir, Rao said during a press conference with her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir.

Pakistan has nudged India to push ahead with talks even as it has struggled to stem the growth of the Taliban and other militants who have proliferated on its soil since the US invasion of Afghanistan.

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