COLOMBO (AFP) - The leaders of South Asian rivals India and Pakistan are to meet in Sri Lanka this week for their highest-level talks in 15 months and to see if they can hold together their embattled peace process. Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad hit another low point this month after India said "elements" in Pakistan were behind the recent bombing of its Kabul embassy. There has also been an increase in incidents along the Line of Control, with the Indian army accusing Pakistani soldiers of crossing the border on Monday and killing an Indian soldier. Amid the growing tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of a South Asia regional meeting in Sri Lanka this week. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani at the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SSARC) summit which begins on Saturday. "The meeting (between Singh and Gilani) is being scheduled," a Sri Lankan official involved with the arrangements told AFP. The talks also follow a series of bomb attacks in India's southern IT hub of Bangalore and the western Ahmedabad city over the weekend. New Delhi blames Pakistan's spy agency of masterminding the July 7 attack on its embassy in Kabul that killed at least 41 people. It has yet to point a finger over the weekend serial bombings, claimed by a little-known Islamist group calling itself the "Indian Mujahideen". Pakistan in turn blames India for fueling sectarian violence on its soil, and alleges India's external intelligence agency tried to assassinate its ambassador to Sri Lanka in a roadside bomb attack in Colombo in August 2006. Meanwhile, officials of an eight-nation South Asian grouping began talks here Tuesday to prepare the groundwork for a summit later this week that will focus on trade and terrorism. Delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka began discussing arrangements for the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, starting Saturday. Sri Lanka has ramped up security in its already tightly guarded capital to unprecedented levels as it prepares to host regional leaders for the summit amid an escalating conflict with Tamil Tiger separatist rebels. The official-level talks conclude Wednesday, and ministers will meet on Thursday to review the agenda for their leaders, officials said. The meeting comes in the wake of terrorist attacks in India last weekend that killed 49 people and injured more than 160. A shadowy Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. "Spiralling food and oil prices and ways to offset the burden imposed by these on our economies will also be discussed" at the two-day summit, an Indian foreign ministry official said. Leaders are expected to set up the SAARC Development Fund and agree to extend mutual legal assistance and cooperation in combating terrorism, he said. "Poverty alleviation and development issues ... are also on the agenda," he said, adding that SAARC members will also complete formalities on the entry of Afghanistan, the newest country to join the grouping. SAARC was formed in 1985 to speed up development and lift the region's 1.5 billion people out of poverty, but the grouping is seen as being ineffective due to regional turmoil and bilateral tensions between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars. South Asia houses half of the world's poorest people.