The Indian and Pakistani national security advisers held “cordial” talks in Bangkok Sunday on militancy and Kashmir, a joint statement said, as the two countries seek a thaw in frosty relations.
The talks, originally scheduled in August but cancelled by India, came days after the prime ministers of both countries met on the sidelines of a conference in Paris. “Pursuant to the meeting of the prime ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris, the national security advisers, accompanied by the foreign secretaries, met in Bangkok today,” the statement said. “Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquility along LoC,” it added.
The Line of Control marks the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region.
The statement said the talks “were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere” and both sides “agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement.”
Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, the two nations have fought three wars—two of them over Kashmir. The territory is divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both. About a dozen militant groups have been fighting in the Indian sector since 1989, seeking either Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan.
Hopes were high for a rapprochement between the two countries following the election of Pakistan’s center-right Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013, whose pro-business platform included campaigning for greater economic cooperation with regional powerhouse India. But relations between the two nuclear powers worsened significantly in 2014 following the election of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, with shelling across their border in Kashmir claiming dozens of lives.
There are now signs tensions may be cooling. Apart from the meeting of security officials, the cricket boards of both countries last week agreed in principle to play a short series in Sri Lanka, in what would be their first meeting since 2012. The so-called “cricket diplomacy” still requires final approval by New Delhi.