Pakistan, India begin discuss cooperation in fighting terrorism, drug smuggling

The officials from the countries' interior ministries will also discuss releasing each other's civilian prisoners and people who have been held after inadvertently crossing the border, a Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Pakistan and India share a long border straddling rugged mountains and deserts. Illicit trade and drug smuggling is common across the border.

The two countries commonly arrest each other's nationals, including fishermen along their border in the Arabian Sea, on charges of illegal entry or even spying, the AP reports.

India also suspects Pakistan of backing secessionist Islamic militants who are blamed for terrorist attacks in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir.

Pakistan denies backing militants but says it gives moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris' struggle for "freedom."

The two countries separately control parts of Kashmir but each of them claims the whole of the region. The nuclear-armed rivals have fought two wars over the Himalayan region since their independence from British rule in 1947.

In 2004, Pakistani and Indian leaders began efforts to normalize relations and try to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Tuesday's talks are being held as part of that process that has seen the two countries ease travel restrictions across their border, restore severed travel links and normalize diplomatic ties.