India's prime minister said Friday that he looks forward to meeting with his Pakistani counterpart later this month to discuss ways to ease tensions that have fed a nuclear arms race.
"India and Pakistan have to live together. We can't change the geography and will have to live like good neighbors," Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told Parliament, according to United News of India.Vajpayee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will meet in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, during a regular summit of a seven-nation regional group.
Vajpayee told Parliament that India is willing to hold direct talks with Pakistan to resolve their disputes, chiefly their competing claims to the Himalayan state of Kashmir.
Pakistan has sought international mediation over the Kashmir dispute, something India has flatly rejected.
Vajpayee repeated his call for Pakistan to enter into a no-first-use nuclear weapons agreement with India.
India detonated a series of underground nuclear tests in May, saying it needed a nuclear deterrence because of security threats from China and Pakistan. Pakistan responded with its own tests.
Following the tests, the United States, Britain, Japan and other industrialized nations imposed economic and military sanctions on both India and Pakistan. They also urged both countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.