No agenda was set out for Mr Singh and Mr Gilani
The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers have met at a regional summit in Bhutan, their first major direct talks since last July.
Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani met on the sidelines of the two-day meeting of South Asian nations.
Peace talks have been largely on hold since the Mumbai attacks of 2008, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Analysts say there is little chance of a significant breakthrough.
India has regularly rebuffed Pakistani calls to resume a substantive dialogue, saying Islamabad has not done enough to tackle militants or bring the Mumbai attacks organisers to justice.
Pakistan admitted the attacks were partly planned on its soil, but denied any official involvement.
Mr Singh and Mr Gilani met after a luncheon for leaders at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) summit in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu.
No agenda was detailed for the meeting.
Bilateral contact since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen, has been scarce.
Mr Singh and Mr Gilani met on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt last July.
In February, Pakistan and India held their first formal talks since the 2008 attacks and agreed to "remain in touch". The two sides, however, made no substantial progress.
And earlier in April, Mr Gilani and Mr Singh met briefly at a reception in Washington hosted by US President Barack Obama.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the Press Trust of India that Delhi's delay in resuming dialogue had "dragged on too long" and that Mr Singh's desire to move forward was being thwarted by members of the PM's Congress party.
The meeting comes in the same week that India arrested a woman working as a diplomat in its Islamabad embassy on charges of spying for Pakistan.
The neighbours have a history of mistrust and have fought three wars.