The president of Pakistan is set to visit India for the first time in seven years, marking a new high point in relations between the two nuclear rivals.

Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh will host President Asif Ali Zardari at a lunch in New Delhi before he makes a private trip to the shrine of a Sufi saint in Rajasthan state, according to officials.

The visit is the first time the two leaders have met since 2009, and comes after recent promises by Zardari to grant India most favored nation trading status, according to CNN.

Pakistan's former Foreign secretary Shaharyar Khan said he hoped the visit would yield results such as easing travel restrictions between the two countries. There should be concrete steps like easing of visas and exchanges at various levels, Khan told IANS news service.

Despite the informal nature of the visit, analysts hope the meeting will spur greater dialogue between the pair,

This will give a new impetus to bilateral ties, Ashraf Azim, president of Pakistan-based Institute of Regional Studies told IANS. Even as he (Zardari) sets his foot on Indian soil, there would be an opportunity, he said.

Zardari and Singh last met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Russia in 2009.

The two neighbors have fought three wars since the partitioning of the Indian sub-continent into secular India and Muslim Pakistan in 1947.

Two of those conflicts have been fought over the disputed Kashmir region, which remains a potential flashpoint.

In 2008 terrorists, believed to be from Pakistan, killed 164 people in Mumbai during three days of gun battles and sieges with Indian police.

Since the attacks, successive governments on both sides have made progress towards ending the bitter rivalry through a series of high-level talks and visits.