New Delhi: India and Pakistan resumed talks in New Delhi on Thursday as part of their slow-moving peace process, officials said.
The Indian foreign ministry said the day-long meeting between mid-ranking diplomats would focus on reducing tensions along maritime borders and the repatriation of people inadvertently straying across land frontiers.
At present, fishermen, farmers or other people caught by Indian or Pakistani coast guards or border troops are usually suspected of being spies and can languish in prison in bureaucratic legal limbo even after serving sentences.
The talks will be followed on Friday by discussions on nuclear safeguards, or ways of keeping their respective nuclear arsenals under control.
On Monday, Indian and Pakistani officials will revisit efforts to put in place a regular joint anti-terrorism mechanism designed to share intelligence on militant activity.
The latest round of talks comes in the wake of renewed accusations from New Delhi that Islamabad continues to support terrorist attacks in India.
India’s national security advisor M.K. Narayanan said Pakistan, already accused of backing Islamic rebels in Indian Kashmir, was also trying to revive Sikh militancy in the northern state of Punjab.
The allegation came after a weekend bomb attack in a Punjab cinema killed six people and injured 32.
Although no breakthroughs are expected in the latest round of talks, Indian foreign ministry officials said it was nevertheless “significant” that dialogue was continuing.
“The atmosphere between the two sides has improved. There are delegations crossing the borders. More people-to-people contacts are in place with improved bus and train links,” a foreign ministry source told AFP.
“On 1 October, we started a truck service to improve trade. Also significant is that despite all the political issues in Pakistan today no party there has questioned the dialogue process,” he added.