Almost three years of frosty relations between India and Pakistan looks set to thaw after the leaders of both countries held a one-on-one meeting in the Maldives.
Taking time out from a summit for South Asian heads of state, the two men discussed further talks with aims including a preferential trade agreement and liberal visa regime.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he wanted to focus on the future: “We have wasted a lot of time in the past on acrimonious debates. The time has come to write a new chapter in the history of our relationship.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani praised his Indian counterpart’s openness: “We have discussed all core issues and the prime minister has always been open. He said ‘put all cards on the table, I am ready to discuss each and every issue’,” he said
There have been assurances from Islamabad that those responsible for the Mumbai attacks will be brought to justice, and agreement that the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab should be hanged.
Pakistan-based militants killed 164 people in 10 separate assaults on the city in November 2008.