The four-and-a-half hours including a 70-minute dinner that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani shared in Mohali on Wednesday has broughtin a fresh impetus to the re-engagement between the neighbours and stressed the primacy ofdialogue to address all issues including sighting a forward movement on the 26/11 case.
“Whatever be the differences between two countries, we have to find pathways to resolve them… We have reaffirmed our resolve there are difficulties on the way but we will make every honest effort to overcome those difficulties,” PM Singh said.
In his second innings of cricket diplomacy, the first being with former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in 2005, Prime Minister Singh got Gilani to agree on key concerns and share some of his roadmap for normalising ties, and for a prosperous South Asia.
Singh emphasised the two neighbours had to work together “at all levels” to bridge the trust deficit.
“Cricket has become uniting factor and I think one thing which we can agree is the sporting links between two countries should be normalised as early as possible,” Singh said, lauding Gilani as a “Prime Minister who inspires confidence.”
Gilani went one step further, thanking Singh for resuming the “composite dialogue”. Officially, New Delhi hasn’t termed the resumption of dialogue process as the composite dialogue, which was suspended after 26/11, though it variedly describe the talks as a “sustained” and “comprehensive” “structured” dialogue process.
But taking the counts of the positives, there are many. One of the readings the officials in New Delhi said before the foreign secretary-level talks in Thimpu was Islamabad increasingly believes resolving issues with India can contribute to their economic well-being.