India, Pakistan to resume peace talks next month

India, Pakistan to resume peace talks next month


New Delhi: India and Pakistan will hold new peace talks next month to boost efforts to cooperate against terrorism and reduce the risk of a nuclear war beginning by accident, the Indian foreign ministry said.

The two sides, which launched a slow-moving peace process in January 2004, will discuss ways of implementing “conventional confidence-building measures" in New Delhi on 18 October, the ministry said in a statement on 17 September.

Top officials will also discuss issues relating to nuclear safeguards, or ways of keeping their respective nuclear arsenals under control, a day later. The talks will continue on to 22 October with New Delhi and Islamabad revisiting efforts to put in place a regular joint anti-terrorism mechanism designed to share intelligence on militant activity.

Both sides regularly accuse each other’s intelligence outfits of sponsoring terror attacks across the border. The anti-terror panel was launched a year ago when top Indian and Pakistani diplomats resumed peace talks after July 2006 train bombings in Mumbai, in which 186 people died.

The panel was supposed to meet every quarter, but the October meeting will only be its second outing. According to C. Uday Bhaskar, the former head of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, confidence building talks between India and Pakistan have moved at a “glacial pace due to the political trust deficit between the two sides."

He said that the new talks are also likely to touch on their respective nuclear doctrines. “For instance, India has declared a no first use of nuclear weapons, Pakistan does not agree to that," Bhaskar said.