Sonia Gandhi skips PM-Zardari lunch

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 08, 2012 12:33 hrs

Congress supremo and the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi did not attend the lunch at the Prime Minister's residence for visiting Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday.

The no show of Sonia fuelled many speculations though son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was present and the young leader also met Zardari´s son Bilawal Zardari Bhutto.

Senior ministers AK Antony (defence), SM Krishna (External Affairs) and P Chidambaram (Home) were present along with opposition leaders like Sushma Swaraj and L K Advani.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would visit Pakistan soon at the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari, said the former after meeting Zardari in New Delhi before a lunch that he hosted for the Pakistani leader on a private religious visit to India.

"I am satisfied with the outcome of this visit. President Zardari has invited me to visit Pakistan which I will undertake on a convenient time," said Singh after meeting Zardari appearing before media together.

Zardari and Manmohan Singh held brief talks ahead of the lunch, later briefing that the two would meet soon on the soil of Pakistan.

"We had a fruitful bilateral talks. We will like to have better relations with India. We are hoping to meet on Pakistan soil very soon," said Zardari.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the talks were constructive and the two discussed tactical and pragmatic solutions to the issues.

Zardari met Singh for talks and lunch ahead of his visit to Ajmer for a pilgrimage. The two leaders met after a long period with their last encounter in Russia in July 2009.

Foreign secretaries of the two nations also met over the lunch.

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