Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered to meet Pakistan's new leaders "halfway" on Wednesday, inviting them to put the past behind them and build a new relationship based on cooperation and enduring peace.
"I would like to assure the newly elected leadership of Pakistan that we seek good relations with Pakistan," Singh told parliament in his government's most comprehensive reaction to last month's Pakistani election.
"India wants to live in peace with Pakistan. The destinies of our two nations, I have often said, are closely interlinked."
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, and the nuclear-armed neighbours came close to a fourth in 2002.
"We need to put the past behind us. We need to think about our collective destiny, our collective security, our collective prosperity," Singh said.
"The leaders of the main political parties in Pakistan have also spoken of their interest in developing close relations and working with us to bring about ... peace."
Singh paid tribute to the roles played by assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto and by Nawaz Sharif in previous efforts to promote peace between the neighbours.
Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League emerged as the two largest parties after last month's parliamentary election, but have not reached agreement on the formation of a coalition government.
Last Mod: 05 Mart 2008, 15:57