Yusuf Raza Gilani & Manmohan Singh: New Chapter

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan said Thursday that their next round of talks should further improve ties between the two countries.

The next round of talks will be more positive, more constructive and will open a new chapter in the history of both countries, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told reporters after an almost hourlong discussion with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on the sidelines of a meeting of South Asian leaders in the Maldives.

India and Pakistan this year resumed a peace dialogue derailed after a militant attack in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.

Progress has been slow, but ties appeared to warm last week after Pakistan said it would grant India most-favored nation status for trade. The two leaders last met in March at an international cricket match in India.

Lasting peace between the nuclear-armed foes is seen as key to stability in the South Asian region; and that will help a troubled transition in Afghanistan as NATO-led combat forces plan their military withdrawal from that country in 2014.