Indian foreign minister in Pakistan to review peace process

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh mentioned strong aspirations for peace among the people of India and Pakistan ahead of a key meeting Monday with his Pakistani counterpart aimed at advancing the peace process between the two neighbors.

On his arrival in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Sunday, Singh said there is an "overwhelming desire" for peace among people both in India and Pakistan, state-run Pakistan Television reported.

"Our governments respond to these sentiments and work toward a positive outcome of our deliberations," he said.

Singh was scheduled to hold formal talks with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri on Monday, a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

He also was likely to meet with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Tuesday, the official said.

In January last year, India and Pakistan began peace talks aimed at normalizing relations, bedeviled by their dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The two countries separately control parts of the territory but each claims it in its entirety. They have fought two wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.

The nuclear-armed rivals have made little headway in resolving their dispute over Kashmir, although they have resumed some severed transportation links, restored normal diplomatic ties and made it easier for people from either side to travel to the other country.

Speaking last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Naeem Khan said the two sides will discuss how to promote economic ties and facilitate people-to-people contacts during Singh's four-day visit, reports the AP.


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