A new face for India-Pakistan peace talks

NEW DELHI, July 25, 2011 (AFP) – The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will hold peace talks in New Delhi on Wednesday overshadowed by triple bomb blasts in Mumbai and intense media interest in Islamabad’s new top diplomat. They will be the first foreign minister-level discussions between the nuclear-armed neighbours and arch-rivals for a year.

The last, in July 2010, saw an initially positive mood soured by mutual recriminations, with each side accusing the other of lacking the sincerity to resume a proper dialogue.

India suspended peace talks after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and getting the process back on track has proved painfully slow, with India insisting Islamabad do more to bring Pakistan-based militants blamed for the attacks to justice.

Analysts expect little in the way of any significant breakthrough at Wednesday’s meeting, but interest has been piqued by the recent appointment of Hina Rabbani Khar as Pakistan’s top diplomat.

Not only is Khar the Islamic state’s first female foreign minister, she is also the youngest. At just 34, she is some 45 years junior to her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said her appointment would “send positive signals about the