Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Source: Press TV
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has travelled to India for a private visit, marking the first such trip by a Pakistani head of state in seven years.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to host a lunch in honor of Zardari in his residence in the capital New Delhi on Sunday, before the Pakistani president heads to the shrine of a revered Sufi saint at Ajmer in Rajasthan state.
Although the visit is a private one, there is a hope it could boost the economic ties between the two nations.
However, little progress is expected to be made on sensitive issues such as the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which has been the topic of dispute since 1947.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of which were over the disputed Kashmir region.
The nuclear-armed rivals have been making gradual progress toward normalizing relations. Bilateral ties suffered a major blow following the 2008 Mumbai attacks which India blames on Pakistan.
Zardari’s visit is the first such trip made to India by a Pakistani leader since former President Pervez Musharraf made an official visit to New Delhi in 2005.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said earlier that Zardari is expected to formally invite Singh to Pakistan during his Sunday visit.
The Pakistani chief executive is scheduled to return to Islamabad in the evening.