May 13, 1997 in Nation/World

India, Pakistan Leaders In Rare Meeting

Compiled From Wire Services

With only three months to go before the 50th anniversary in August of the partition that created their two nations, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan met Monday in the first such encounter in eight years and vowed to seek ways around deep enmities that both acknowledged as having contributed to entrenching the poverty of tens of millions of their people.

The two leaders, I.K. Gujral of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, used their meeting at a resort on Kumara Island, one of 1,200 coral islands in this languid Indian Ocean nation, to create an atmosphere of striking amiability.

This was a far cry from the shrill denunciations that often characterized exchanges between the two countries in the past, so much so that officials on both sides said they could recall nothing like it since an India-Pakistan summit meeting in 1966, when another attempt at ditente flared and was just as quickly extinguished.

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