Thimpu, Apr 29: The much-awaited meeting between the Prime Minister of India and Pakistan finally happened on Thursday, Apr 28 on the sidelines of the 16th SAARC Summit.
Even though there was no joint statement at the end of the 45 minute-long meeting between Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani, delegates of both the countries held press conferences separately and simultaneously after the talks.
While Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao part of the Indian delegation present during the meeting spoke for the Indian side, her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi held the other conference.
"The Prime Ministers held very good talks in a free and frank manner. They agreed that cooperation between the two countries is vital for the people of South Asia to realise their destiny," Rao told reporters.
Qureshi, on the other hand, said that the talks in Bhutan's picturesque capital have changed the climate between the two countries.
"The outcome of the meeting has changed the climate between India and Pakistan," Qureshi told reporters.
"It's good news for the region. Let's be happy with that," he added.
Both Rao and Quereshi stressed that the meeting at the prime ministerial level was a positive step forward in ending the stalemate in the Indo-Pak bilateral ties.
The dialogue between India and Pakistan came to a standstill following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in Nov 2008.
The prime ministers met in Jul 2009 in Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt in Jul 2009, where a joint statement was released. But the outcome was no positive than it was negative as the issue of Balochistan resurfaced among other highly controversial matters.
However, the Sharm-el Sheikh meeting led to Foreign Secretary level talks between Nirupama Rao and her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir in Feb 2010.
The Apr 29, 2010 meeting at the SAARC summit is also expected to led to resumption of dialogue as both the leaders have agreed on holding talks at the level of Foreign Ministers.