Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani met each other in what is being referred to in diplomatic circles as the 'Mohali spirit' aimed at taking bilateral relations forward.
Singh told mediapersons after the ICC World Cup semi-final match, “I dare say it’s a very good beginning. We have reaffirmed our resolve that there are difficulties but we will make honest efforts to overcome them. The message from Mohali is that the people of India and Pakistan should live in peace and amity and that the two Prime Ministers have committed their governments to work in that direction.”
Singh accepted the Pakistani PM’s invitation to visit his country and discussed a wide range of issues including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said.
Gilani also extended an invitation to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who was among the Indian dignitaries witnessing the match. Briefing mediapersons on the talks between the two PMs, Rao said, “It would be appropriate to say that today there was a Mohali spirit. This is an encouraging and positive spirit. Our Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Pakistan have had a wide range of conversations on various issues."
Singh reiterated the need for an atmosphere free from violence in order to enable improvement of ties and Gilani shared the sentiment, Rao said.
"We've begun 2011 with a good augury for the future. It has reaffirmed our intention to take forward the process of dialogue. Our goal is to normalise relations," Rao said. "The intention of both countries is to stay in touch and keep up the contact. The game of cricket has provided an impetus to the meeting," she said.