In a keenly awaited meeting that could alter the pace of efforts to improve the relationship between their two countries,the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan had a brief interaction Tuesday morning during which Manmohan Singh said the two leaders must do something solid for their bilateral ties.
The meeting happened on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Seoul where Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani were among over 50 heads of state who attended. The two were waiting in the Leaders Lounge ahead of the plenary session when the conversation happened.
Singh thanked Gilani for agreeing on important trade concessions recently while Gilani showed interest in buying power from India for its Punjab province. Gilani also invited Singh to visit Pakistan. I thanked the Prime Minister for making the trade concessions. He said he had worked very hard for this. He asked if we could supply power to Punjab. I said we will look into it. He then said you must come to Pakistan. I said let us do something solid, Singh told reporters on board his special flight while returning from Seoul in the evening.
The Prime Ministers remarks have come at a time when India-Pakistan relations seem to be moving upswing. Pakistan,for the first time,has been allowing transit for Indian wheat going to Afghanistan,as reported by this newspaper.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said it was a welcome move by Pakistan.
Singh did not address the customary press conference on the return flight,citing the ongoing session of Parliament,but came to meet journalists during which he responded to queries on his interaction with Gilani.
Pakistans Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and NSA Shivshankar Menon were present besides Mathai when the two leaders met.
Mathai later told reporters that the two PMs exchanged greetings and said they were very happy to meet again.