New Delhi: "Important not to be bogged down by war mongers" - that is Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar's advise to Prime Ministers from India and Pakistan who met today in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif discussed bilateral issues, their meeting lasting longer than expected. PM Modi raised cross-border terror and the 26/11 trial in the 50-minute interaction with Nawaz Sharif that many see as an ice-breaker.
Ms Khar said, "In South Asia personality and personal relationships have a big role to play (sic). Modi's warm welcome has put an end to negative voices from here."
In July 2011, Ms Khar had visited India as the foreign minister of Pakistan and held bilateral talks with her counterpart SM Krishna - talks that signalled the revival of bilateral relations between the two South-Asian neighbours after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Talks between India and Pakistan have been suspended at all levels since January last year.
"Peace should be irreversible and peace talks should not be derailed by a single incident," Ms Khar said, adding, "Trade is the way forward. When we invest in each other's countries, it strengthens peace. (sic)"
The former foreign minister of Pakistan said there was a "real chance to resolve core issues" as both the Prime Ministers have the political mandate. "Modi has a thumping majority, Nawaz a simple majority," she said.
Pakistan's Prime Minister had said after arriving in Delhi yesterday that South Asia's bitterest rivals now had an opportunity to turn a page in their history of troubled relations. "We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other," he told NDTV.
The BJP has long advocated a tough stance on Pakistan, with which India has a major territorial dispute in Kashmir, and Mr Modi has been seen as a hardliner on issues of national security. In that respect, the new Prime Minister's decision to invite Sharif for his inauguration and bilateral talks today came as a surprise and raised hopes for a thaw in relations.