NEW DELHI (AP) ― Pakistan has agreed to host Indian investigators looking into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks blamed on Pakistan-based militants, the two countries announced Tuesday after talks aimed at building trust between the sides.
The agreement in principal was seen a breakthrough after more than two years of impasse over the investigation. India had frozen discussions with Pakistan after the attack and accused Islamabad of not doing enough to crack down on militants, which Pakistan denied.
The agreement was reached between the home secretaries of the rival nations after two days of talks in the Indian capital. Dates for the Indian visit have yet to be worked out, a statement from the home secretaries said.
No details were given about the level of access India would have in probing the attacks, in which 10 militants from Pakistan laid siege to India’s financial capital in November 2008, killing 166 people.
Pakistani Interior Secretary Qamar uz Zaman and Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai “reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” and agreed to set up a hotline between their offices to share information on terrorist threats, the statement said.
India also shared information on its continuing investigation into the deadly 2007 bombing of a train between New Delhi and Lahore. The attack, blamed on Hindu nationalists, left 68 people dead, most of them Pakistani civilians.
The bilateral talks ― still in nascent stages ― also touched on easing visa restrictions, which commonly hold up travel for citizens of both countries for months. Zaman had said Sunday, when he arrived in India by crossing the border in Punjab on foot, that he hoped for progress in making “travel easier for the common man.”
They agreed their security agencies should work together to tackle human trafficking, counterfeiting and cyber crimes.
Pillai agreed Tuesday to travel to Pakistan for the next round of talks, though no date was given.
The decision to resume diplomatic talks followed a meeting last month between the foreign secretaries in Bhutan, after months of efforts to find a way back to the negotiating table.
As the nations work to rebuild shattered trust, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will be traveling Wednesday to northern India to watch a cricket World Cup semifinal with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
There is little expectation of a quick turnaround in resolving the complex and often-bitter conflicts that have tested relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors for six decades.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars ― two of them over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir ― since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Kashmir has since been divided between the two countries but claimed in its entirety by both.