Manmohan, Zardari discuss bilateral issues

New Delhi: Signalling a positive outcome, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari today said the two countries are willing to find "practical, pragmatic" solutions to a "number of issues" affecting the bilateral relationship.

Emerging after a 30-minute one-on-one meeting, both Singh and Zardari gave press statements where they expressed "satisfaction" over their deliberations.

"I and President Zardari had constructive and friendly exchanges of views on bilateral issues which affects relationship between India and Pakistan," Singh said.

After landing here at 12.10 pm at Palam Air Force Base (technical area) along with his son Bilawal Bhutto, Zardari drove straight to Singh`s official Race Course Road residence.

Zardari, who had expressed his desire to come on a "private visit" to go to Ajmer to pay obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, was invited by Singh to join him for lunch. The invitation was accepted by Zardari.

"I have taken advantage of this visit to discuss with him all bilateral issues and I am very satisfied with the outcome of this visit," the Prime Minister said while admitting that there were number of issues between the two countries.

"We have a number of issues and we are willing to find practical and pragmatic solutions to all those issues and that is the message President Zardari and I would wish to convey," Singh said.

We have had "very fruitful" bilateral talks, said Zardari, who also hoped to meet the Indian leader on Pakistani soil very soon. The Pakistan President invited Singh to visit his country.

"I would be very happy to visit Pakistan on a mutually convenient date," Singh said. The Pakistan President was warmly received by Singh after reaching the Prime Minister`s residence and both the leaders posed for shutterbugs.

"I would like to wish the people of India `as-salam walekum` from the President of Pakistan. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for inviting me for lunch though I am on a private visit here but we have had some fruitful bilateral talks together," Zardari said.

The Pakistan President, who is on a day-long visit to India, said the two countries are neighbours.

"We would like to have better relations with India. We have spoken on all topics that we could have spoken about and we are hoping to meet on Pakistani soil very soon," he said.

There was no structured agenda for the meeting between Singh and Zardari. The two leaders, however, did not mention the specific issues discussed during their meeting.