Pakistan president, Japan make Manmohan's day | india | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan president, Japan make Manmohan's day

india Updated: Dec 17, 2006 02:03 IST

It was a day of hope for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — fraught with promise on every front. He welcomed Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's suggestions on resolving the Kashmir issue.

"I welcome the efforts... to normalise relations between India and Pakistan," the prime minister told the media on the flight from Tokyo.

The land of the rising sun too had its cheer to spread. The prime minister was upbeat about Japan's stand on India's nuclear programme.

"There is appreciation that India needs nuclear power for energy security and I am convinced that when the time comes, Japan will be on our side," he said.

Last week, Musharraf had outlined a four-point plan in an interview to a private television channel. He had said Pakistan would give up its claim on Kashmir, including the UN resolution for a plebiscite, if India also gave up its "traditional stand".

Musharraf had proposed the ideas at the 2001 Agra Summit and they were discussed at the recent foreign secretary-level talks. The prime minister has also accepted an "invite" to Pakistan.

Summing up his "bilaterals" with Japan, he said his agenda had not included discussion on the nuclear issue "at any length", adding that "Japanese sensitivities on matters relating to nuclear (issues) have to be respected because it was the only country to have been devastated by atomic weapons."

When asked what exactly Japan wanted India to settle with the IAEA, the prime minister said his Japanese counterpart did not seek anything beyond the commitment India has already made to establish India-specific safeguards with IAEA.

Singh was also optimistic about the direction of India-Japan ties. "You can guess extent of transformation because Prime Minister Abe himself said that he looks upon the India-Japan relationship as the most important bilateral relationship for Japan," the prime minister said.

Family matters

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former US President George Bush met in the lobby of Four Seasons hotel where they were staying. At the meeting which Singh described as "very pleasant", Bush Sr asked him how he was getting along with his son. "I said very well," Singh revealed.

Gursharan Kaur and Barbara Bush were also present. Witnesses said Bush then asked Singh if "his son" had good table manners. If he didn't, he added, the blame lies here, pointing to his wife.

Email Madhur Singh: madhur .singh@hindustantimes.com

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