Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna (2nd L) and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar (3rd R) speak during a meeting in Islamabad on September 8, 2012.
Pakistan and India have agreed to ease visa restrictions and work to improve bilateral relations, the two countries’ foreign ministers announced at a press conference in Islamabad.
The two countries reached the landmark accord on Saturday, the final day of Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna’s two-day visit to Pakistan, the Pakistani media reported.
Krishna’s visit is a part of a peace process between Pakistan and India that halted after the Mumbai attack of November 2008, in which 166 people were killed. India accused its neighbor of some degree of involvement in the attacks.
Pakistan has firmly denied allegations of involvement, asking India to refrain from blaming Islamabad and insisting that perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks were "non-state actors".
The visa agreement introduced a number of measures “aimed at easing travel of business persons, tourists, pilgrims, elderly and children, thereby facilitating contacts between peoples of the two countries.”
"We will move forward... We will not be held hostage to history," Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the joint news conference with her Indian counterpart after signing the agreement.
"We must learn from the past and not miss any more opportunities. Pakistan is committed not to lose any opportunities. Pakistan is committed to creating new opportunities," she added.
During his visit, Krishna held talks with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Foreign Minister Khar, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
"A step-by-step approach is what will take the relationship forward," the Indian foreign minister said.
In response to the Pakistani foreign minister’s statement, Krishna said, “Let us not look back as you have rightly said, let us not be held hostage to whatever has happened earlier. I think we will have to keep our sight to the future.”