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India and Pakistan agree to high-level peace talks: officials

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Narendra ModiIndia and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to resume high-level ministerial talks encompassing the peace process and territorial disputes, according to joint statement issued by both sides.

The breakthrough, which raises hopes for a thaw in relations between the nuclear powers, came after a meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz.

“Both the countries have agreed to resume the stalled talks,” she said, adding: “The foreign secretaries of both the countries will meet and chart out the agenda for the meetings.”

According to the joint statement, the dialogue would comprise peace and security as well as territorial disputes including Kashmir, which the two countries have fought two full-fledged wars over since gaining their independence from Britain in 1947.

India suspended the dialogue process between the two countries after Islamist gunmen attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people.

The attacks were later found to have been planned from Pakistan.

The two countries agreed to resume the peace process in 2011 but tensions have spiked over the past two years, with cross-border shelling over the disputed border in Kashmir claiming dozens of lives since 2014.

A brief meeting between Sharif and his counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, followed by a meeting between the two countries’ national security advisers in Bangkok, appeared to have broken the ice.


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