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India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after a hiatus of almost two years.  (India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after a hiatus of almost two years. )

India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after a hiatus of almost two years.
(India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after a hiatus of almost two years. )

70% Indians want improved ties with Pakistan: poll

64% of those surveyed favoured increased trade and 58% favoured negotiations to improve ties

New Delhi: Though only 13% of Indians have a positive view of Pakistan, 70% think it is important to improve relations with the western neighbour, according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre.

77% percent of those surveyed favoured a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, while 64% favoured increased trade and 58% favoured negotiations to improve ties with Pakistan. “Notably, Indians and Pakistanis share an animosity toward each other. But both want their bilateral relations to improve," said Pew, which surveyed 4,018 people between 19 March to 19 April with a ±3.9 % margin of error.

According to the survey, 59% of Indians have an unfavourable opinion of Pakistan, while 72% of Pakistanis see India unfavourably. 57% of Pakistanis see India as a very serious threat. In India, 59% see Pakistan as a very serious threat.

Pakistan is viewed as a greater menace than the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba based there or the security challenge posed by China, which fought a war with India in 1962. The results of the Pew survey come as the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan met over the weekend in Pakistan to resolve their outstanding differences including the key Kashmir dispute that has triggered three of the four wars between the two countries since 1947.

India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after a hiatus of almost two years. Trade has been the main driver of the resumed dialogue process with India allowing foreign direct investment from Pakistan and Pakistan moving towards granting India most favoured nation status under World Trade Organization. On Saturday, India and Pakistan signed a liberalized visa pact that will allow increased people-to-people contact.

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