Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan soon
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, Apr 8 (IBNS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would visit Pakistan soon at the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari, said the former on Sunday after meeting Zardari in New Delhi before a lunch that he hosted for the Pakistani leader on a private religious visit to India.
"I am satisfied with the outcome of this visit. President Zardari has invited me to visit Pakistan which I will undertake on a convenient time," said Singh after meeting Zardari appearing before media together.
"President Zardari and I have had a very constructive and friendly exchange of views on all bilateral issues," said the PM.
"Relations between India and Pakistan should become normal and that is our common desire," said the PM.
Zardari and Manmohan Singh held brief talks ahead of the lunch, later briefing that the two would meet soon on the soil of Pakistan.
"We had a fruitful bilateral talks. We will like to have better relations with India. We are hoping to meet on Pakistan soil very soon," said Zardari.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the talks were constructive and the two discussed tactical and pragmatic solutions to the issues.
Zardari met Singh for talks and lunch ahead of his visit to Ajmer for a pilgrimage. The two leaders met after a long period with their last encounter in Russia in July 2009.
Asif Ali Zardari arrived in New Delhi at around noon on Sunday on a private religious visit to Ajmer, on way to which he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch in the national capital.
Zardari arrived on a Pakistan Air Force plane and he is accompanied by a 40-member delegation.
His son Bilawal Zardari Bhutto is also accompanying him.
He was received by Pakistan High Commissioner in India and a senior Indian minister.
Zardari was also accompanied by Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
His visit for a pilgrimage to Ajmer comes under the shadow of a US move to announce a reward on Pakistan-based 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Zardari met but it is assumed that the issue of Hafiz Saeed in particular was not discussed, as Pakistan indicated earlier, despite some tough posturing by India on its most wanted terrorist in the wake of the US move.
Zardari met the PM at his 7 Race Course Road residence.
Both sides had indicated that Hafiz Saeed issue was unlikely to figure in the talks between the two leaders though Indian side, some media reports said, could raise the 26/11 probe progress.
In Lahore Zardari said he "does not expect the issue to surface since he is on a visit of religious nature."
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram also earlier said that though Pakistan has not kept its promise of taking action against Saeed or providing India with voice samples as demanded for the 26/11 attack, the issue may not be raised since the President is on a private visit.
Heavy security arrangements have been made in Ajmer for Zardari's visit.
Zardari would offer prayer at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer in the afternoon.
While the Indian Prime Minister met his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in recent times (as recent as on Mar 27 last in Seoul), he had last met Zardari in July 2009 on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Russia.
Nuclear armed neighbours India and Pakistan are talking since early 2010 now with foreign secretary level talks held last year in June.
During the World Cup semifinal in Mohali between Pakistan and India in March 2011, Singh and Gilani had met one the sidelines and over dinner in the much touted cricket diplomacy.
An informal meeting between Singh and Gilani also happened in Seoul on Mar 27 on the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit.
The two nations are keen to normalize trade relations.
Talks between India and Pakistan were broken after the 26/11 attack in Mumbai in Nov 2008 when Pakistani terrorists launched several coordinated strikes in vital places of India's financial heart and two luxury hotels, killing 166 people and wounding more than 300.
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