Cricket World Cup 2011
Pak PM: Cricket will help ties
Pakistan fans. (AFP)
Islamabad - Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that his visit to India to watch the World Cup cricket semi-final would help improve relations between the arch rivals.
Gilani accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh at the weekend to attend the match, which was due to start at 09:00 GMT, and would result in one of the South Asian giants being knocked out.
"There will be some progress and improvement in relations when we visit India," Gilani said before leaving for the match venue in India's northern city of Mohali.
He praised his Indian counterpart, and described him as a "seasoned politician" who was committed to regional peace and prosperity.
"Both the countries are committed to improve the overall environment," he added.
Gilani said he had accepted Singh's invitation to show solidarity with the Pakistani team. "Our people should now enjoy the cricket and appreciate performance of the two teams."
"I am also happy to note that talks between Pakistani interior secretaries concluded in a positive manner in New Delhi on Tuesday."
Indian home secretary G.K. Pillai, the highest official in the home ministry, and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman on Tuesday agreed to set up a "terror hotline" to warn each other of possible militant attacks.
The two countries announced the resumption of peace talks last month after a meeting between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao.
Relations between India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, have been plagued by border and resource disputes, and accusations of Pakistani militant activity against India.
The two countries embarked on a formal peace dialogue in 2004, which continued until the rupture caused by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
They began to explore a resumption of structured talks last year, and Singh and Gilani met in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu in April 2010.