Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers met on Thursday in an effort to revive peace talks, but it seems the neighbors focused on rival agendas such as Kashmir issue and Mumbai assault.
Shortly after his arrival on Wednesday in Islamabad, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said he would press Pakistan on progress of the probe into the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial hub that killed 166 people.
Krishna's statement followed comments by Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai published in the Indian Express newspaper accusing Pakistan's main spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of orchestrating the Mumbai assault.
The remarks by Indian officials reflected continuing claims by nuclear-armed India against its rival. The neighbors have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947.
However, both sides have been under pressure from the United States to reduce tensions because their rivalry is often played out in Afghanistan and complicates efforts to bring peace there.
The talks between Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi could see them framing a new format to replace a broad 2004 peace process, known as the composite dialogue, which India suspended after the Mumbai attacks.
That new format could free up the peace process from a political bind: India could not be seen as reviving the old peace process until Pakistan punished the planners of the Mumbai attack.
"We hope that as a result of these talks our two countries agree on an engagement process that should move forward in a sustained manner and it should be uninterruptable," Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said before the start of the dialogue.
"Unless we talk to each other and we discuss all issues which have been hindering normalisation of relations for decades ... we believe there cannot be a cooperative engagement. We are looking at these talks very positively."
Pakistan's agenda: Kashmir
Pakistan wants an early settlement of its dispute with India over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries is taking place when India has sent in the army to block weeks of pro-freedom protests in Kashmir in Which Indian trops killed several young protesters.
Pakistan and India both claim Kashmir.
The Himalayan region is at the heart of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan, who have fought two of their three wars over the issue since they won freedom from British rule in 1947.
Kashmiris see India as an “occupier” and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.
Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.
In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. But India has rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.
Indian security forces have been accused in the past of human rights violations, including rape and extrajudicial killings.
"We have not seen any statement from India that shows that they have changed their approach as far as investigations and action against the Mumbai attackers is concerned," political and security analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said.
"If this approach persists than you are not going to get much out of the dialogue. But this dialogue will not be shown as a failure as well. They will continue engagement."