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Zardari, Singh Agree On 'Step-By-Step' Approach To Normalizing Ties


Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari visited India for a one-day private visit Sunday - the first time a Pakistani head of state has visited its neighbor since 2005.

During his trip, billed as a private visit to a Muslim shrine in Rajasthan state, Zardari first met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss normalizing relations.

The two leaders have not meet face-to-face since 2009 during a trip to Russia. Ex-President Pervez Musharraf was the last Pakistani head of state to visit India, which he did under the guise of attending a cricket match in 2005.

This time, Zardari arrived for the one-day trip with a large private entourage and his son and political heir-apparent, Bilawal, in tow.

Zardari and Singh agreed their countries should adopt a step-by-step approach to resolve their differences but didn't clarify what those steps would be.

"Relations between India and Pakistan should become normal. That's our common desire," Singh told reporters after a one-on-one meeting with Zardari.

The Indian PM also told his counterpart "it was imperative to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice and prevent activities aimed against India from Pakistani soil", Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters.

"Zardari told Singh the two sides needed to discuss the issue further and this would be likely when their interior secretaries meet in the next few weeks," Mathai added.

"He insisted that the two sides should resolve their decades-old disputes over the Sir Creek river estuary, Siachen and Kashmir."

Singh told Zardari he would make a reciprocal visit to Pakistan when both leaders worked out a mutually feasible date.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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