Hours after the start of a visit to India by Pakistan's Prime Minister, leaders say both sides want to press ahead with the stalled peace talks. Still, no major breakthrough between the two nations is expected.
At the top of the agenda for Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.
Few details about the meeting were released. But Indian foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna says the two leaders discussed ways to revitalize the India-Pakistan peace process.
"Both sides talked about taking the composite dialogue forward," he said. "And naturally as you have seen in the past few months we have been talking about increased cooperation in several areas."
Mr. Aziz arrived in India Tuesday for a two-day visit in which he is expected to meet with a number of senior leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is the last stop for Mr. Aziz on a region-wide trip focusing on South Asian economic issues. But in New Delhi, the long-running dispute over Kashmir is taking center stage.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, a border region which each side claims. The conflict began when former colonial ruler, Britain, divided India and Pakistan in 1947, granting them independence.
In the past year, the two sides have agreed to honor a ceasefire in Kashmir and restored full diplomatic ties. They have also agreed to a series of confidence building measures, such as opening cross-border transportation links and resuming sports competitions.
During Mr. Aziz's visit, the two sides are also expected to discuss a proposed gas pipeline running from Iran to India, which would have to pass through Pakistan.
But there are still major differences to bridge.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Singh dismissed a proposal from Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, that the two sides come up with a temporary border line between India and Pakistan, running through Kashmir, as an interim measure towards resolving the issue of the region's future.
Since then Mr. Aziz has said his visit could help improve the atmosphere between India and Pakistan, but he warned not to expect any major breakthroughs.
... Payvand News - 11/24/04 ... --