Pakistan, India Agree to Work on Improving Ties

National Journal

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on Sunday agreed to cooperate on reducing bilateral tensions that escalated this year following a series of cross-border killings, Reuters reported.

The two leaders held their first meeting since Sharif was elected to office in May on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly gathering in New York City.

They agreed that achieving "peace and tranquility across the LOC [Line of Control] is a precondition" to any broader improvement of relations between the two longtime nuclear-armed antagonists, Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon informed journalists.

Though Sharif and Singh as individuals both want to see India-Pakistan ties set on more normal footing after decades of cross-border violence and terrorist attacks, they are constrained by local realities -- namely the hawkish views held by politicians and the armed forces in each country, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

If bilateral ties are to improve, Islamabad must first eliminate the "terrorist machine" that uses Pakistan as a base for carrying out attacks on India, Singh said in an apparent allusion to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group responsible for the November 2008 coordinated assault on the Indian city of Mumbai.

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