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(Update 1 week ago)

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in January in a new effort to calm military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, people with close knowledge of the matter told Reuters in Delhi.

Ties between the nuclear-armed rivals have been on ice since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir in 2019 traced to Pakistan-based militants that led to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.

Later that year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew Indian-ruled Kashmir’s autonomy in order to tighten his grip over the territory, provoking outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.

But the two governments have re-opened a back channel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalising ties over the next several months, the people said.

Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan, both of which claim all of the region but rule only in part.

Officials from India’s Research and Analysis Wing, the external spy agency, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence travelled to Dubai for a meeting facilitated by the United Arab Emirates government, two people said.

The Indian foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Pakistan’s military, which controls the ISI, also did not respond.

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