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India, Pakistan start first talks in 3 years

Haidar March 28, 1997
Web posted at: 12:36 p.m. EST (1736 GMT)

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Senior officials from Pakistan and India on Friday began the first talks in three years between their rival neighboring countries.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad met with Indian Foreign Secretary Salman Haidar in New Delhi. Ahmad told reporters the meeting went well.

Both countries agreed not to talk about the substance of their meetings, which may last until Monday. But Pakistan is said to want the talks to focus on the contested territory of Kashmir, while India would rather talk about trade and cooperation.

Kashmir

Kashmir is a major source of tension between India and Pakistan. India controls two-thirds of the Himalayan territory; Pakistan has the rest, but both countries claim all of Kashmir as their own. Kashmir has been the cause of two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since being granted independence from Britain in 1947.

Indian police on Friday detained about a dozen Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi when they threatened to hold a protest at Hyderabad House, where the talks are being held.

If the current talks are successful, they could lead to higher-level discussions later this year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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