Manmohan to examine Gilani’s request for exporting power from Punjab

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani that he will look into his request for supplying electricity from the Indian state of Punjab.

Manmohan Singh also thanked Gilani for granting India most favoured nation (MFN) status, but told him he has no plans to visit the neighbouring country unless something “solid” can be achieved.

“I thanked the prime minister for granting India MFN status. He said he had worked very hard on this,” Manmohan Singh told reporters on board his special flight on his meeting Gilani in Seoul on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.

“He asked if we could supply power from Punjab. I said I would look into this.

“He said you should come to Pakistan. I said I’ll come after something solid (is achievable),” Manmohan Singh told reporters on his way back home after attending the March 26-27 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, before which he paid a two-day official visit to South Korea.

The meeting with Gilani, which took place in the delegates lounge at the Summit venue, was their second in a little over 12 hours after they shook hands at the formal Summit dinner Monday night.

Elaborating on the meetings, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said the first “was less than a pull-aside”, while the second was “in the nature of a pull-aside” as it took place in the delegates lounge.

Manmohan Singh was accompanied by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Mathai and Gilani by Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

“Both leaders were happy to meet,” Mathai said.

“The Pakistani PM recalled his commitment to improve trade relations with India. He said it was not easy but the government of Pakistan decided to go ahead with it,” Mathai noted.

On Gilani’s invitation to visit Pakistan, Manmohan said “in principle he was in favour of the idea but it should be based on a positive development that could lead to a solid outcome”.

Asked if by “solid outcome” Manmohan Singh meant action against the 26/11 perpetrators or something else, Mathai replied: “The PM, when he visits, wants that there must be something solid as an outcome”.