India falls in love with Pakistan's first female foreign minister

 

Delhi

The tortuous peace process between South Asia's nuclear-armed neighbours received a jolt of energy yesterday when Pakistan's first female Foreign Minister held talks with her Indian counterpart. The two parties described the meetings as constructive and cordial and said their relationship was back on "the right track". But most of the headlines were captured by newly sworn-in Hina Rabbani Khar, 34, who cut a fresh, stylish figure, with a section of the Indian media captivated by her look as much as anything else.

"This is indeed a new era of bilateral co-operation between the two countries," Ms Khar said, after talks with India's Foreign Minister, SM Krishna. Mr Krishna, who is 45 years older than his counterpart, added: "I can confidently say that relations are on the right track."

Those looking for something vastly substantive from the talks will have been disappointed; both sides said they would work more closely together to fight terrorism in the region and would make it easier for trade and travel across the UN-drawn line of control that divides the two countries in the contested region of Kashmir.

But that was not the point. Officials have stressed that in the aftermath of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants , which killed more than 160 people, it is essential to have such confidence-building measures.

The visit of Ms Khar, who hails from a well-established political family in Pakistan's Punjab province, certainly helped the mood music. Some said Ms Khar's visit recalled the situation in 1972, in the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. On that occasion, Pakistan's president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto travelled to India to work out the peace agreement that became known as the Simla Accord, and decided to bring his daughter, Benazir Bhutto. Kanchan Gupta, associate editor of The Pioneer, said he believed that whatever else Ms Khar might do, she would serve to soften Indian opinions of Pakistan. "She is modern, dashing, she is swish," he said.

Elsewhere, the Indian media swooned even more over Ms Khar and drew attention to her Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, an oversized Hermès Birkin bag and pearl jewellery. The Times of India carried a front-page headline that read: "Pak Puts On Its Best Face." Meanwhile, the Hindi-language Navbharat Times claimed India was "sweating over model-like minister".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Press / Mac Operator / Artworker - Digital & Litho Print

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: With year on year growth and a reputation for ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Live Virtual Training / Events

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Manager is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003