Pakistan President visits India on low-profile trip

 

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was scheduled to visit India on a private trip today that also gives him a chance to meet Indian leaders amid a thaw in relations between the two South Asian rivals.

Zardari's visit, the first by a Pakistani head of state in seven years, is the most visible sign that the two countries have put behind them the enmity that followed the 2008 terror attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Zardari will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before heading to the Ajmer Sharif shrine of a famous Sufi Muslim saint in India's western state of Rajasthan.

The two leaders will hold talks in private, with no aides present. Indian officials said all outstanding issues between the two sides would be discussed.

Singh is widely expected to raise India's concerns about security and insist that Pakistan show its seriousness about reining in terrorist groups that were behind the Mumbai attacks. India blamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and demanded that Islamabad crack down on them.

Earlier this week, United States slapped a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the group's founder, who operates openly in Pakistan.

India is expected to press Pakistan to act against Saeed, seen as the mastermind of the 2008 attack when 10 Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people across India's financial capital.

Zardari's visit comes a day after a massive avalanche in Pakistan when a wall of snow buried around 135 Pakistani soldiers near the Siachen glacier in the high Himalayas.

The two leaders are likely to dwell on the situation in Siachen, often described as the world's highest battlefield. India and Pakistan have stationed thousands of troops in the icy reaches of Siachen, the control of which remains a simmering dispute between the two neighbors.

Although no major breakthrough was expected during Sunday's meeting, analysts say the meeting would help keep up the momentum of a dialogue process between India and Pakistan that was kicked off last year.

“The two leaders will express their commitment to the peace process, but it's unlikely that any major breakthrough will come about,” said C. Uday Bhaskar, a New Delhi-based defense analyst.

Trade between the two countries has jumped in recent years. Pakistan recently announced that it was lifting trade restrictions on India and the two countries are working on easing visa restrictions on the business community.

But both sides remained far from resolving their conflict over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the partition of the subcontinent on independence from Britain in 1947. Two of the wars have been over Kashmir.

Zardari will be accompanied by around 25 members of his family, including his son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who has been anointed as his political heir.

Every day, thousands of believers visit the shrine of Sufi saint Moinudin Chishti in Ajmer, 350 kilometers (220 miles) southwest of Delhi.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'