The prime ministers of Pakistan and India stood side by side on Wednesday at a World Cup cricket match and clapped to each other’s national anthems in a symbolic gesture aimed at rebuilding ties shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The leaders shook hands with the two teams in Mohali at a semi-final match between Pakistan and India.
“I think every such meeting between the leaders of the two countries generates an extremely positive momentum,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirumpama Rao told a news conference during the match.
“I would like to emphasize this is re-engagement between India and Pakistan.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited his counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, to watch the game and discuss reviving the peace process, although “cricket diplomacy” will offer more in the way of gestures than breakthroughs in the decades-old conflict.
“As far as our relations are concerned, I’m happy our talks have resumed and interior (home) secretaries’ talks were held in a positive manner,” Gilani said, referring to talks between senior officials this week.
“Manmohan Singh is a very good politician. His approach is very positive and he wants to do something for peace and prosperity of this region so we both are committed that the environment should improve and we could serve people.”
The leaders left the match after about two hours of play and were due to return to the stadium for dinner, an organizer said.