Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Powell: Kashmir Infiltration Is Down

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- In South Asia to reduce tensions between the two nuclear neighbors, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that Pakistan and India appeared to be inching toward talks that could lead to a lasting peace in the disputed Kashmir region.

India says it would not consider dialogue with Pakistan until it is convinced that Pakistan-based militants have halted incursions into the Indian-controlled portion Kashmir.

"I am hopeful that if we keep moving in the direction we've been moving in the past couple of months, where the tension has been going down and where there have been some preliminary de-escalatory steps ... I think the possibility of dialogue in the near future is something that can be achieved," Powell told a news conference after meeting President Pervez Musharraf.

India contends that infiltrations are continuing -- although it acknowledges their level has been reduced -- but Musharraf told reporters separately that they had been entirely halted.

Powell's four-hour stop in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad was part of his third visit to the region since October.

While in New Delhi, Powell met Indian leaders who insisted that infiltration has only marginally decreased since the United States relayed a promise from Pakistan's leader to end the border crossings. In Pakistan, Powell said "everyone agrees the infiltration has gone down [but] the United States is still not able to say it has been stopped but they have gone down."

Powell's news conference in Pakistan was jointly held with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Inam-ul Haq after meetings ended with Musharraf.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared last year after an attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan, resulting in a massive deployment of troops by both Pakistan and India. Escalating tensions also generated world fears that a war in South Asia could result in the use of nuclear weapons, which both countries say they possess.

Powell urged India to take steps that would convince Kashmiris that an election in its Jammu-Kashmir state this fall will be free and fair.