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India And Pakistan

Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, visited India to meet with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. The two leaders agreed to work to resolve differences over the divided territory of Kashmir. They also agreed on more trade and cultural links between predominantly Hindu India and Pakistan, an Islamic country.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, India and Pakistan have gone to war three times. There was a threat of war again in December 2001, after a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. But relations have steadily improved since then. For the first time in almost sixty years, bus service was recently resumed across the heavily militarized Line of Control, which separates India-controlled Kashmir from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

President Musharraf of Pakistan says "the time is ripe" for Pakistan and India to resolve their differences:

"We must go for resolution of all disputes and the core dispute of Kashmir. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind. We have to resolve this dispute amicably, to the acceptance of Pakistan, India, and the people of Kashmir."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the U.S. supports the progress being made by India and Pakistan:

"We are supporting it on the basis of strong, independent ties with each of them.... We've de-hyphenated the relationship. It's no longer the...Indian-Pakistani relationship. It's a strong relationship with India, a multi-ethnic democracy that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy and in global politics, and with Pakistan, a country wracked by extremism that is trying to find a path toward democratic...national elections in 2007."

Ms. Rice says that the two countries' determination to resolve their problems peacefully is a by-product of their decision to fight terrorism:

"Countries were made to make a choice about supporting extremism and terrorism, or not. I think President Musharraf's decision that he was not going to support extremists no matter what the cost, no matter if it was in Kashmir or anyplace else, put India and Pakistan, in a sense, on the same side of the war on terrorism, and that has been very important in contributing to their efforts."

The more progress India and Pakistan make, says Secretary of State Rice, "the more the populations [of those countries] really want that progress to continue."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.