SRINAGAR - The leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said Monday it was ready to talks with the Indian government, after the state governor said he was optimistic about dialogue.

The Muslim-majority Kashmir valley is at the heart of more than seven decades of bone of contention between nuclear arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Both claim it in full but rule it in part.

On Saturday, Satya Pal Malik, the governor of Indian occupied Kashmir told a news conference he had seen a softening in approach from Kashmiri leaders, including the APHC.

“I feel happy that the temperature in the valley has gone down as compared to what it was during my arrival in Kashmir,” he told a news conference.

Malik has governed the state since August 2018, shortly after India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew from a coalition with a local party, imposing direct rule from New Delhi. “Today Hurriyat, who once closed their doors... are ready for the talks with the Government of India,” Malik added.

In response, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of Hurriyat, a political movement that wants independence from India, told Reuters on Monday he would welcome talks. “Hurriyat Conference has always been in favour of talks as the means of resolution,” he said. “Kashmiris, being the most affected party for the past 72 years, naturally want its resolution.”

Kashmir, whose fate was left unresolved during partition in 1947, is a key focus for the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that won a second term in power with an increased majority in May.