Addu: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s praise of his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani as "man of peace" attracted a lot of attention here, with New Delhi clarifying that the assessment was made on basis of the frequent meetings between the two leaders.
The prime minister`s assessment was based on frequent meetings he had with Gilani, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters when asked why Manmohan Singh described Gilani as "man of peace" at a joint press conference the two leaders held after their talks on Thursday.
The nature of talks he has had with Gilani supported this assessment, Mathai said.
Manmohan Singh`s pursuit of peace with Pakistan and the resonance he finds in his talks with Gilani to strengthen the relationship explains it, said Mathai.
Manmohan Singh and Gilani have met four times in the past 30 months, including their meetings in Sharm el Sheikh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in July 2009 and in Thimphu on the margins of the SAARC summit in April 2010.
Gilani accepted Manmohan Singh`s invitation to watch the World Cup semifinal in Mohali in India`s Punjab in March.
In their meeting in the Maldives on the margins of the SAARC summit here Thursday, both leaders struck an optimistic note and vowed to open a new chapter in their bilateral relations.