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Pakistani PM Arrives in India

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz arrived in New Delhi Tuesday for talks to keep alive a year-old peace process between the neighbors that is stumbling over the dispute on Kashmir.

Aziz's trip is the first by a Pakistani premier in more than 13 years.

Though Aziz is travelling to New Delhi in his capacity as the head of a South Asian grouping, officials and analysts said the peace process between the neighbors would dominate the two-day visit.

The Pakistani leader smiled and shook hands with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh after he landed at Delhi airport, but made no comments.

Shortly before he arrived, separatist militants ambushed an Indian security patrol in southern Kashmir, killing a soldier and wounding another.

The dispute over Kashimir is the source of a half century of hostility between India and Pakistan and the trigger for two of their three wars.

Aziz was due to hold talks with Natwar Singh, former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, whose offer of friendship to Pakistan started the process of normalization, and leader of the opposition Lal Krishna Advani.

Aziz's talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the powerful Italian-born leader of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, are scheduled for today.

He will also discuss with Indian Oil Minister Mani Shankar a long-running plan to build a pipeline to bring gas from Iran to India that will traverse through Pakistan.

(China Daily November 24, 2004)

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