Zardari hugs Manmohan, calls him ‘father of modern India’

September 25th, 2008 - 9:39 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew York, Sep 25 (IANS) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is the latest addition to the global fan club of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the economist who opened India’s economy in the 1990s and struck a landmark nuclear deal with the US. “You are the leader of modern India,” Zardari, the widower of the slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, told Manmohan Singh when he met him on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in Hotel Millennium Plaza.

The dapper, grey-suited Zardari hugged Manmohan Singh twice and told him that he had always admired him since the economist-turned-politician became the prime minister who opened up India’s fettered economy in the 1990s.

Manmohan Singh, on his part, congratulated Zardari on his election and “the victory of democracy in Pakistan.” More than 20 years his senior, Manmohan Singh expressed the hope that this would pave the way for “a profound transformation of the bilateral relationship.”

The two leaders met for the first time since Zardari became president at Hotel Millennium Plaza, a few blocks away from the UN headquarters. They held talks for nearly 45 minutes sans aides.

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