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India ready to talk on Kashmir: WSJ

12 April, 2012

NEW DELHI: India is willing to talk about the disputed territory of Kashmir with Pakistan as part of an effort to advance peace talks, said Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday

India's top diplomat also demanded serious action against militants by Pakistan that use its soil to attack India.

He said it was deeply troubling to India that Hafiz Saeed was able to address public gatherings and appear on television.

At the same time, Mathai said New Delhi views recent moves by Pakistan, including an agreement in February to open its markets to Indian goods, as a signal Islamabad is serious about an improvement in ties.

"I wouldn't have been as optimistic six months ago," Mathai said about prospects for the latest round of peace talks, which began in earnest a year ago. "The fact the government is able to move on the trade track shows there's a greater willingness to take things forward by all the players."

As the talks develop, India would consider reopening a serious discussion on Kashmir, Mathai said. New Delhi, he added, "would be happy" to start talks toward a deal to keep Kashmir's borders as they are but allow greater trade and movement of people across the Line of Control, the de facto frontier that divides the territory.

End.

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