The prime ministers of Pakistan and India met in Islamabad Sunday on the sidelines of the 12th SAARC summit, said Pakistani foreign minister.
"The meeting has taken place, it was a good meeting," Pakistani Foreign Minister Mian Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri told reporters.
Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee went into one-one-one meeting after the inaugural session for the summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at Islamabad's convention center.
While terming the meeting, which lasted for about half an hour, as a "positive development", the foreign minister expressed the hope that it will lead to a composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.
The state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) showed footage of the two leaders shaking hands and smiling warmly.
The meeting was also attended by the foreign ministers, foreign secretaries of both countries, said PTV, without giving details of the bilateral talks.
The surprise talks came ahead of a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two major players of the regional group.
Pakistani, Indian PMs meet in 'friendly and cordial atmosphere'
Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali in Islamabad Sunday met with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee after the opening of a regional summit, said a senior Pakistani official.
The state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) showed footage of Jamali, Vajpayee and other officials sitting together.
Foreign ministers, foreign secretaries of both countries also attended the meeting, the first of its kind since 2002, said Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.
The two premiers went into one-on-one meeting soon after the inaugural session of the 12th Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), PTV reported.
The two leaders are expected to discuss close cooperation and other issues of mutual interest, said PTV.
The meeting was held in a "friendly and cordial atmosphere," it added.
South Asian summit opens
The 12th SAARC Summit, seen as a historic opportunity for Pakistan and India to build on peace moves, opened in Islamabad Sunday amid extraordinarily tight security arrangements.
The national anthem of host country Pakistan was played as heads of state and government of the seven-member regional group entered the Jinnah Convention Center.
Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali and his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee entered the convention side by side and jointly took their seats.
Outside, about 10,000 heavily armed police and military personnel enforced a near lockdown on the deserted streets, leading to the conference venue.
During the summit, the SAARC leaders will discuss a 6-point agenda finalized by their foreign minister with South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), additional protocol on terrorism and social charter, aimed at social development and poverty alleviation.
After a lapse of two years, the three-day summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has brought together Prime Minister Khaleda Zia of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Lyonopo Jigmi Ythinly of Bhutan, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives, Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa of Nepal and Pakistani Prime Minister Jamali.
Nepalese Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, the outgoing chairman of the regional group, opened the summit, which was originally scheduled for last January. The SAARC leaders met last time in Kathmandu, Nepal in January 2002. The next summit will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2004)