India and Pakistan have agreed to resume formal peace talks that were broken off by New Delhi after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Indian sources said on Thursday.
The nuclear-armed neighbours have been under pressure from the United States to reduce tension because their rivalry spills over into Afghanistan, complicating its interests there.
The decision was made at a meeting between the two countries' top diplomats in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, on the margins of a regional conference.
"The new talks are in effect the formal resumption of the composite dialogue," a senior Indian government official involved in repairing ties with Pakistan told Reuters.
"What happened in Thimphu is that we both agreed ... there is support for the (peace) process (on both sides)," the official said, adding the new round of talks would not be called "composite dialogue".
When asked whether formal talks were being started, another Indian official replied: "Yes, it's another attempt," though he stressed that progress would be "incremental".
A Pakistani government official wouldn't confirm the decision, but said there had been progress.
Indian government sources said it had been agreed that talks would resume at several levels, including between the home secretaries of the two countries "in the coming months", leading up to talks between their foreign ministers later this year.
"Ever since the Mumbai attacks we have had near-promises of resumption of dialogue but nothing has happened," said Amitabh Matoo, professor of International Relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"Now at last there is a sense of realism in Islamabad and Delhi on the criticality of engagement. I am cautiously optimistic about the talks. Cautious because there are so many variables and unknowns involved."
AgenciesLast Mod: 10 Şubat 2011, 11:18