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Pakistan foreign secretary in India for talks

Pakistan's foreign secretary arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for the first official talks with India since the 2008 Mumbai attacks froze a slow-moving peace process between the rivals.

delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2010 17:50 IST

Pakistan's foreign secretary arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for the first official talks with India since the 2008 Mumbai attacks froze a slow-moving peace process between the rivals.

Salman Bashir will meet India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao for closed door talks on Thursday in the Indian capital. India says it decided to resume talks after judging that Pakistan had taken some steps to address concerns about militant groups operating on its side of the border.

New Delhi blamed the November 2008 Mumbai attacks -- which left 166 people dead and more than 300 others injured -- on Pakistan-based militant groups and "official agencies" of the country.

Pakistan had pushed the United States to help get the peace process back on track, arguing that the perceived threat from India limited its ability to support the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Press Trust of India quoting an unnamed government official said India would approach the one-day talks with an "open mind" but with limited expectations.

"India is going into talks with an open mind, but is fully conscious of limitations imposed by (the) trust deficit post-Mumbai attacks," the news agency quoted an official as saying.

The two sides will not issue a joint statement, the source told PTI.

The dialogue was launched in 2004 to cover the entire gamut of bilateral issues, including their territorial dispute over Kashmir.

On the eve of the talks, India accused Pakistani border guards of firing on Indian positions across the Kashmir border and injuring a guard.

Border tensions and militant incursions in Indian Kashmir had slackened off after the peace talks began in 2004.

Pakistan wants an immediate return to the broader dialogue, but India is insisting that Thursday's meeting between Bashir and Rao will focus on terrorism.

The Indian desire to discuss terrorism before all else was deepened by a bomb blast at a restaurant in the western city of Pune just over a week ago, which killed 16 people.

India has yet to charge any specific group with responsibility.