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India, Pakistan PMs Pledge 'New Chapter'

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (left) meets his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh before the (SAARC) summit in the Maldives.
The prime ministers of Pakistan and India have held talks in the Maldives, pledging to open a "new chapter" between the two neighbors.

The two nations have fought three wars since independence in 1947. They suspended talks to reduce tensions after the 2008 Mumbai attacks which India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

The dialogue was resumed in February, but so far no progress has been reported on the most contentious issues, including the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

Speaking after the meeting on the sidelines of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit on November 10, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani claimed the next full round of talks would be "more constructive."

"We have discussed all core issues and the [Indian] prime minister has always been open and he said, 'Let's put all the cards on the table," Gilani said. "I am ready to discuss each and every issue.'"

His Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, said he welcomed the "positive movement" from the meeting.

Addressing the SAARC summit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asserted that a strategic partnership with India was intended to promote peace.

Pakistan had reacted angrily to a pact announced last month which included provisions for India to help train and equip Afghan security forces.

compiled from agency reports