Rahul, Bilawal contact important, says newspaper
ISLAMABAD THE contact between Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of India’s ruling Congress party, and Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, who heads the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, is “important given that both might lead their respective countries one day and determine the future course of events”, said a daily.
Rahul and Bilawal met on Sunday during a daylong trip by President Asif Ali Zardari to India. Zardari interacted with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and later paid obeisance at the dargah of a Sufi saint in Ajmer.
An editorial in the News International on Tuesday said that the general tone of friendship between the two leaders also “passed on to the torch-bearers of the future”.
“Rahul Gandhi, 40, accepted an invitation from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari 23, to visit Pakistan.
“This initial contact between the two young men, who share some similarities as far as family history goes, is also important given that both might lead their respective countries one day and determine the future course of events,” it added.The daily said that private or otherwise, “any contact between Pakistan and India is important”.
Zardari “managed to discuss some delicate but crucial issues during his pre-luncheon talks with Manmohan Singh”. Describing Singh as “a veteran politician”, the editorial said that the Indian prime minister “did not stick to mere pleasantries, and said he was “taking advantage” of Zardari’s presence in India to bring up some key issues”. The fact that the interaction “seems to have taken place in a mainly cordial setting is encouraging”.
It said that “the talks have set up an environment for potentially more cordial relations in the future between the two countries”.
“The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are due to meet soon and, significantly, Manmohan Singh has accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan.
“The talks establish the possibility of building a road to the future, and even though the president’s devotional trip to Ajmer Sharif was controversial given what it has cost taxpayers, the discussions that were held have built some hope of improving the relations between the two neighbours,” the editorial added.