PMO denies media report that PM contacted Kayani

New Delhi: The Prime Minister`s Office today termed as `false` a media report that Manmohan Singh had initiated a back channel exercise for talks between an "unofficial" Indian envoy and Pak Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani 10 months ago.

"We have seen media reports quoting a British newspaper saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh contacted Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani before the Mohali meeting between the two Prime Ministers. The report is false," PM`s Media Adviser Harish Khare said in a statement.

London-based `The Times` had yesterday reported that Singh had appointed an "unofficial envoy" to make contact with Kayani, who exercises de facto control over Pakistan`s foreign policy.

The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged the UK and US believe that the countries` competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process, the media report had said.

The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match between India and Pakistan in the cricket World Cup last month has sparked hopes of a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbouring countries.