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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
India and Pakistan to build trade
Pakistani fishermen at Ahmedabad railway station
India has released 156 jailed Pakistani fishermen
The leaders of India and Pakistan have decided to build trade and business ties after a rare summit meeting.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Premier Manmohan Singh held two hours of discussions in what is described as a "very warm" atmosphere.

Both sides have spoken of the need to resolve outstanding issues particularly the long-running Kashmir dispute.

The two nuclear rivals embarked on a peace process in January 2004 and have held several rounds of talks.


During their talks the two countries decided to:

  • set up a joint business council to improve trade
  • launch a rail link between the Indian state of Rajasthan and the Pakistani province of Sindh by December
  • release 156 fisherman being held in Indian jails
  • hand over any people who may stray across the line of control in Kashmir

Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran said a joint statement was being worked out by both sides.

"The positive and forward looking atmosphere which was evident on the eve of the visit was maintained throughout the talks," he said.
Pervez Musharraf in Ajmer, Rajasthan
In my view there has been progress on all issues
President Musharraf

More than 5,000 police and security personnel were deployed to guard the stadium for Sunday's cricket match. "I want to say that I am happy that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere and with an optimistic note," President Musharraf told journalists.

"In my view there has been progress on all issues," he said.

President Musharraf and Prime Minister Singh were joined by senior officials including their foreign, defence and trade ministers.

But there was no word on any progress on the contentious Kashmir dispute.

"It is a complicated issue, it may take time to resolve," Mr Saran said, adding that both countries had agreed that they would work towards finding a solution.

Cricket diplomacy

Earlier the two leaders watched the start of the final one-day international cricket match between India and Pakistan.

Just before the start of the game, President Musharraf walked out to meet the two teams to a rousing reception from the 25,000 spectators gathered at the ground.

Manmohan Singh and Pervez Musharraf
Both leaders watched the start of a cricket match in Delhi

A no-fly zone was enforced over the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium as President Musharraf and Mr Singh attended the game.

The match was eventually won by Pakistan.

On Saturday, Mr Singh hosted a banquet for President Musharraf, during which he said both countries needed to find an enduring solution to all problems, including the disputed territory of Kashmir.

However, he said that in order to sustain dialogue, both countries must fight terrorism in the region.

President Musharraf called for a substantive dialogue on all issues.

"People's wishes and aspirations have overtaken their leaders' and their governments'," he said.

"Therefore, I think the [peace] process is irreversible."
I hope General Musharraf will carry a message of love and peace from here. The bitterness should end
Israr Mohammad,
Ajmer resident

However, he said there could be no guarantee of peace in the future if disputes such as Kashmir were brushed under the carpet.

It is President Musharraf's first visit to India since a failed summit in 2001.

On Saturday, the president first flew to the western state of Rajasthan to visit an important Muslim shrine, the Sufi shrine of saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

He later travelled to the capital and attended a banquet.

The trip follows a year of peace talks, which last week saw the first buses in nearly 60 years cross divided Kashmir.

Kashmir, which both nations claim in its entirety, remains the biggest problem between the nuclear-capable neighbours.

How a shared love of cricket is easing relations

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