Pakistani leader in 'friendly' talks on visit to India


The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder: "Relations between India and Pakistan have never really recovered after the 2008 Mumbai attacks"

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The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has held "friendly" talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a rare visit to India.

"We would like to have better relations," Mr Zardari said after private talks with Mr Singh in Delhi.

The Indian leader said they shared a desire for "normal" relations between their countries.

It was the first visit to India by a Pakistani head of state in seven years. The two men last met in 2009 in Russia.

Mr Singh said he had accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan as soon as mutually acceptable dates were worked out.

Mr Zardari later departed for a visit to a Muslim shrine in Ajmer, 350km (220 miles) south-west of the Indian capital.

The shrine in Ajmer is dedicated to a Sufi saint, Moinudin Chishti, and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the region, receiving a constant flow of devotees.

Militant issue

While the two leaders were meeting for lunch in private, a wide range of issues is said to have been discussed.


Such is the state of relations between South Asia's two long-standing rivals that even a private visit by the Pakistani president to India can create a flutter.

Both leaders said they were very satisfied with their exchange. Nothing much was expected and nothing substantial emerged but the Pakistani president invited Mr Singh to visit his country.

The Indian prime minister said he would be happy to accept although it is not clear when he plans to go.

The two sides still have major political differences over the disputed region of Kashmir and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. India believes Pakistan is protecting those who plotted them. But in the past few months the two sides have made progress in improving trade links and many are hoping that political improvement can follow.

According to India's NDTV news channel, the two leaders agreed that their home secretaries would meet soon to discuss the issue of Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Mr Saeed is accused of masterminding the 2008 militant attacks on Mumbai and Washington has announced a $10m (£6.3m) bounty for his arrest.

India says it has given Pakistan enough evidence to prosecute him but Pakistan says it needs "concrete evidence" before it can launch any legal proceedings.

India also reportedly offered to help Pakistan in its efforts to rescue dozens of people still buried under snow after a massive avalanche engulfed an army camp on the Siachen Glacier in the Himalayas.

Relations between the two countries have been gradually improving since peace talks were derailed after the Mumbai attacks.

Mr Zardari recently backed the lifting of trade restrictions on India, and Pakistan is also talking of dropping a restrictive list of what products it will buy from India.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    This meeting is a crucial step forward and could augur better tidings. Sticking to cooperation and trade issues would focus minds on what is really essential. Here are two Asian giants on a very important mission! Putting contentious issues behind and working pragmatically towards the future. Just think of the huge rewards! The two nations could consequently break the stale-mate. A very wise move!

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    "Comment number 31.chrislabiff
    Great. Is this relevant to the uk?"

    Two nuclear armed enemies, one has been staring into the abyss for many years and was a training ground for the 7/7 bombers, the other is projected to be a 21st century economic power house, with all things good and bad that go with it. That is why this story is relevant to the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Religious leaders, media and politicians in India have so encouraged hatred between lay people that share culture, tradition and language in their border regions, that these current leaders will have to make extraordinary efforts if they are to mend fences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    54. So how stupid were the UK and US a public to scream war after 9/11 which was in US soil. When UK nosed its way into that war London was bombed!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    #53 "..any peace talk with Pak is futile as there will be soon another attack from Pakistanis..."
    Yes, that's true and you have to wonder how stupid the Indian and Pakistani general public are

    I believe the vast majority of both nations want peace between them and yet one atrocity like Mumbai and they scream for retaliation. Why do the terrorists do it ? TO KEEP THESE TWO GREAT NATIONS APART

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    India is being labeled a failed state?! It is a comment from people who obviously are not aware of what India is or just live in denial. India has a working democracy for the last 60 years continuously. India is like Europe with over 20 languages - the difference being it is in harmony unlike EU. And any peace talk with Pak is futile as there will be soon another attack from Pakistanis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Good effort. I still back India though. Sikhs are usually top people. They should be given a bigger say in how this will resolve itself due to both their cultural geography and their positive attitude.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    what kind of agreement may happen within 30 minutes!! meeting is the sign of building good relationship but there isn't any sure signal for good relationship between 2 countries, one day before 135 soldiers died in siachen because of disputed land ksahmir

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    I found the comment how is this relevant to UK a surprise! This is relevant to the world, be it Asian or not. The BBC should be encouraged to report on events in Indo-Pak, do you even know currently Sikhs in India are trying to oppose the death penalty here/worldwide! 64 year of independence and indo-pak do not have decent football teams for the world cup in the 21st century!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    @36.Vivek "more people are killed each year in the UK from domestic violence than have ever been killed by islamic terrorism"

    Total of about 800 people killed in the UK last year by all causes, some of which were "honour killings" by Asian immigrants. Thousands died in one year (2001) because of Islamic terrorism. Get your facts right. Oh, sorry, you don't sem too bothered by "facts".

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Jsg - its not just sikhs every indian is affected by the congress party. But Indian still grows and will be better than Pakistan will ever be until it starts repecting Human life and stops killing its own citizens and shutting down Terrorist camps which train extremists to be send to all over the world. In a nut shell there is a lot more common sense in the streets of Delhi than in Islamabad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    If there is a future war, its going to be over water which Pakistan depends on if it is to grow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Vivek - The Congress party has betrayed the very people who got India independence - the Sikhs (then we were "freedon fighters"). It broke every promise it made to the Sikhs in and since 1947. The Sikhs has been peacefully demonstrating for basic rights and the fulliment of those promises - the Congress governments response? State sponsored terrorsion.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    It is more to world leaders such as UK, US and UNO than these two leaders, who can bring change and quality life to billions of peoples living under poverty level on this part of the world.Nuclear armed means nothing for those peopels who have no water to drink, no food to eat and no shelter to stay. WE NEED REAL CHANGE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    They can develop very good understanding as one is known to be Mr 10% and other has track record for allowing corruption openly under his cabinet and always follow all orders from his lord. Just pay 10% of profit from any deal then Mr. Zardari will do whatever asked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Vivek - how about people that are killed by the India regime - its own people - in state sponsored terrorism? It may be the largest democracy in the world but it also has the worst human rights record - see Amnesty International for stats.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    There is an essentially corrupt military establishment in Pakistan which does not want friendly relations with India. Perceived hostility from India has driven military spending in Pakistan for decades and it is what gives the armed forces their power.

    Zardari will do well to survive this visit - not because any Indians attack him but after he gets home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    @ 33 Sukhwinder-Punjabi: Remember the years of extremist violence in Punjab before 1984? Whilst I condemn the Congress sponsored genocide of Sikhs in 1984, one cannot forget the years of Sikh separatist violence (funded largely by ex-pat Sikhs) that preceded it.

    Also, can you also explain how India is a 'failed' state?

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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