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.

Analysis

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
    +5

    Comment number 98.

    31.chrislabiff
    Great. Is this relevant to the uk?

    You are reading the World news. If you want UK news, try the UK tab.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 97.

    Two really screwed up countries.Both hate women. Both have large numbers of religious fanatics.Pakistan provides a sanctuary for Islamic terrorists under its nuclear umbrella, is therefore the more dangerous of the two to the outside world but lack of human rights in India is a fact. Neither is a place I'd want to live in.Millions of emigrees from both countries agree even if they won't admit it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 96.

    as long as these 2 giant countries are talking trade instead of war both their peoples are to be benefit out of these meeting after all 1/3 of the population of the planet its part of their 2 countries

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 95.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then we will know peace - Jimi Hendrix. Take a note people!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 94.

    India & Pak both need to understand that rest of the world hardly care about THEIR problems- unless their interest is hurt (e.g US interest). In reality, Pakistan desperately needs new political direction & true leadership to shape its future. Foreign trained (not educated) children from the families of feudal lords & current political dynasties can't lead Pak towards prosperity & development.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 93.

    31. chrislabiff

    Great. Is this relevant to the uk?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 92.

    #84 maverick26
    "Did UK join the US to fight the afghan and Iraq war to repay 9/11 much to the dislike of the Muslim world - YES"

    If India located a Lashkar-e-Taiba base in Pakistan and attacked it, it would probably have world approval. That's different from just not talking to the Pakistan government. The US/UK still talked to the Afghan govt.

    Nobody believes Iraq was about 9/11

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 91.

    It was, & still is, a massive failure of Indian leadership & diplomacy that a small, totally misgoverned (even as compared to India) state like Pakistan allowed to grow so much to threaten, causing slow bleeding to India, for far too long.
    Pakistan need to understand that using Islamic extremism as part of foreign policy was, & still is, a huge mistake- even for its "elites" (both army & civil).

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 90.

    #84
    "Why 9/11 - Because Bin Laden was unhappy of Iraq war of the 1990's"

    Bin Laden offered to fight against Iraq http://tinyurl.com/cxc366j because Iraq was mainly Shi'a. AlQaeda in Iraq under Zarqawi saw as its main goal the killing of Shi'a, not Americans http://tinyurl.com/d4623

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 89.

    Just wait till the next bomb blasts in some Indian city. We will see such dramas all over again. I am sure the current leadership (mainly Congress party) will never gather the courage to use force, even under "the worst case scenario". Chanting the mantra of peace never guarantee peace. Peace has it own price. Only those deserve peace who are able to pay the price.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    80.LillyBlow - "....... This message will no doubt be censored again."

    Well, an hour gone & no censorship in sight, wrong there.....

    .....the reason this topic is open is because we all pay the license fee, ergo it is right & proper that some topics that interest each person, but not all, people should have a chance to commented on by us, the license fee payers......

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 87.

    U.S. natural gas corporations should deal this energy to other nations. Why allow Abu Dhabi to dominate world sale of natural gas? Pennsylvania produces marcellus natural gas that is perfectly safe to burn in your environment. The Arab oil cartel's petroleum-based product is a lethal, insidious emission.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 86.

    The gravity of tension between India and Pakistan is only as serious as the rest of the world takes it. If they were completely ignored, including little or low-key media coverage, the Kashmir dispute would not matter much. As it is it is about each country fighting to keep its ego inflated in the global publicity platform.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 85.

    Zardari's initiative is to be appreicaited. He is putting his weak government on the line for this. The military establishment has never welcomed such moves & there is no love lost between PPP governmennt & military. But this is what Pakistan & Pakistanis need. This can allow Pakistan to focus on its massive internal problems of a stagnant economy, illiteracy & poor infrastructure.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 84.

    #78 OldPerson
    Why 9/11 - Because Bin Laden was unhappy of Iraq war of the 1990's

    Did UK join the US to fight the afghan and Iraq war to repay 9/11 much to the dislike of the Muslim world - YES
    Did the radicalised muslims get angry and bomb London for the Afghan and Iraq war - YES

    Did India start a war after Mumbai attacks although all proof points out to Saeed Hanif backed by pakistan ISI - NO

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 83.

    68.Lazorwalrus
    It may have escaped your notice but the US and. to a small degree the UK. armed and trained the Mujahideen to fight their proxy war against the Russians in Afghanistan. When the US, it's aims achieved, cynically turned it's back on the people of Afghanistan those Mujahideen morphed into the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the rest is history. Reap as ye shall sow is, I believe, the phrase.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 82.

    what a shame zardari..pleasing U.S and India while your soldiers die..

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 81.

    Erm, I don't know why this article has been made able for people to comment on? Actually, I don't care. Muggles confuse even me sometimes.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 80.

    Why has the BBC chosen to make this Article open for discussion? - whilst important things pertaining to the UK not open for public discussion ? ... This message will no doubt be censored again.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    #76
    "Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project (also called peace pipeline).."

    The problem with that, as Russia has demonstrated, is that in a world of dwindling fossil fuel reserves, supply of them gives political power to the supplier.

    Ukraine has also demonstrated that when a pipeline goes through your country - as the gas pipe to the EU goes through Ukraine - you can use that for leverage

 

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