My job is done if India-Pakistan ties normalise - PM

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 00:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would consider his job “well done” if ties with Pakistan return to normal before he leaves office, local media quoted him as saying on Sunday, weeks after Singh’s diplomatic push at the cricket World Cup.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have slowly tried to rebuild a fragile trust shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which Singh’s government blamed on Pakistan-based militants in collusion with the country’s spy agency.

According to a recently released Wikileaks cable, Singh has led the push for peace with Pakistan despite misgivings from members of his own administration, including the National Security Adviser.

“Well, if I can succeed in normalising relations between India and Pakistan as they should prevail between two normal states, I will consider my job well done,” Singh told reporters on board his plane returning from a visit to Kazakhstan, according to the Press Trust of India.

Singh had invited his Pakistani counterpart, Yusuf Raza Gilani, to watch their two teams square off in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup at the end of March.

In a major confidence-building measure ahead of the match, Islamabad also agreed to let Indian investigators travel to Pakistan to probe the Mumbai assault. Their foreign ministers are due to meet in July.

For Singh, the push for peace may be a way of regaining the policy initiative after his government has been battered by months of corruption scandals that could dent the ruling Congress party’s chances in state elections this year.