Zardari’s visit to India is “private”

President Asif Ali Zardari will on Sunday become the first Pakistani head of state since 2005 to visit arch-rival India when he makes a trip that includes lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

During what officials from both sides describe as a “private” one-day visit, Zardari will be the guest of the Indian premier in New Delhi before heading to Ajmer to offer prayers.

The trip, which was confirmed this week after leaks in the press, has received a cautious welcome from analysts who say it reflects some improvement in ties since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

But little progress could be expected on Kashmir issues. “Zardari expressed a desire to visit India primarily for a pilgrimage, and it is only correct that we welcome him to the capital,” G. Parthasarathy, a retired Indian diplomat and former high commissioner to Pakistan, told AFP