India has offered to resume bilateral talks with Pakistan that were halted after the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks nearly 15 months ago, an official said Thursday.
India proposed the resumption of discussions between the foreign secretaries on terrorism and other issues, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the matter. Pakistan welcomed the offer.
India and Pakistan launched broad-based talks in 2004 aimed at resolving several disputes between the nuclear-armed neighbors, including over the divided region of Kashmir.
India put the peace process on hold soon after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that left 166 people dead. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
"The issue of counterterrorism will be raised, as well as other issues to contribute to creating an atmosphere of peace and security," the Indian official said. He did not indicate when the meeting would take place.
In Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed the Indian talks offer, saying it was a "positive step."
The bilateral talks should start from where they had been put on hold by India following the Mumbai attacks, he said.
Qureshi didn't confirm any dates for the resumption of talks, but said he had sought details from New Delhi about it.
The first signs of a thaw in relations became evident Wednesday when the government announced India's minister for internal security, Palaniappan Chidambaram, would attend a regional meeting to be held in Islamabad on Feb. 26.
Chidambaram will be the first high-level official to visit Pakistan since the Mumbai attack, although the prime ministers from both sides have met on the sidelines of other international conferences.
New Delhi has insisted that Islamabad provide evidence of steps it has taken to dismantle terrorist networks that operate out of its territory and bring those accused of planning the Mumbai attacks to justice.