Bonhomie marks PM`s lunch for Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari was also keen to know from Singh how India managed to have better trade relations with China with whom it had a boundary dispute.

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2012, 18:07 PM IST

New Delhi: The lunch Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was marked with bonhomie with guests discussing ways to further bilateral ties over a delicious spread that included kebabs, biryani and masala dosa.

It began a little late as the one-on-one talks between Singh and Zardari stretched beyond the schedule time.

Rahul Gandhi was seated next to Pakistan Peoples` Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto and the two leaders were seen talking frequently through the 50-minute lunch.

"Prez n I enjoyed lunch with Rahul Gandhi and PM Singh. lovely meal. much to learn from each other," Bilawal posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Home Minister P Chidambaram was seen exchanging notes with his Pakistan counterpart Rehman Malik at the long table decorated with flower vases and silver cutlery. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was also invited but she is learnt to have sent her regrets.

The talk about Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed also continued over lunch and Zardari pointed out to the Prime Minister that the terror mastermind was arrested four times and released by court every time, sources said.

Zardari was also keen to know from Singh how India managed to have better trade relations with China with whom it had a boundary dispute.

The Prime Minister is understood to have told Zardari that India and China have worked out a mechanism to manage the boundary dispute.

Singh said that could be a good framework to take forward the trade relations. It is learnt that the two leaders were keen to double bilateral trade by 2014.

PTI