India’s new government has expressed willingness to resume high-level talks with Pakistan. which were suspended more than two years ago. Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda told Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in a letter released on 9 June: ‘My government stands ready to work, together with your government, to address all issues of mutual concern.’ Deve Gowda assumed power on 1 June and is expected to win a vote of confidence in mid-June. The establishment of a centreleft government has raised hopes that relations between the two countries will improve. On 8 June, Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said that trade relations could soon be normalised and India could be given most favoured nation status in the next few months.

The two countries have fought three wars since independence in 1947. A six-year revolt in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state has strained relations between the two states.

Pakistan denies that it arms and trains guerrillas fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan.