The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has applauded the leadership of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Gilani for taking steps to improve their bilateral relationship.

“I applaud the leadership that Prime Minister Singh and Prime Minister Gilani have demonstrated,” Ms. Clinton told reporters at a joint news conference with the External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna, following the conclusion of the strategic dialogue which was co-chaired by them.

Ms. Clinton said the two delegations discussed the steps that the governments of India and Pakistan are taking to open up avenues for trade, investment and movement of people.

Mr. Krishna in his remarks said the issue of safe havens in Pakistan was raised during the Strategic Dialogue.

“We again stress the importance of eliminations of safe havens in Pakistan for Afghanistan’s security and the region’s stability,” he said.

Later in his separate interaction with journalists at his hotel, Mr. Krishna said he did discuss the improvement in India-Pak relationship.

“We always discuss our relationship with Pakistan,” he said.

“They are aware that India, particular Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, has been going out of his way in order to extend his hands of friendship with Pakistan,” he said.

“Of late there has been some responses which are very encouraging from the Pakistani side,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Mr. Krishna who is scheduled to visit Islamabad next month, told reporters that the two countries are still working on the travel dates.

The minister noted that he has a scheduling conflict with the current dates being proposed by Islamabad.

“I am due to visit Pakistan in the month of July. They have proposed a date which conflicts with my prior commitments in India, which are very important, as a result of that a message has been sent to them that they should rework the dates,” Mr. Krishna said.