Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday stressed peace efforts with Pakistan, the keystone of his foreign policy.

Addressing a press conference here, Dr. Singh, in a significant revelation, for the first time, publicly acknowledged that secret envoys from the two countries had almost arrived at an agreed resolution to end the conflict in Kashmir. “At one time it appeared an important breakthrough was in sight. However, in Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf had to make way for a different set of [leaders]. I think that led to the process not moving properly. However, I still believe that good relations between India and Pakistan are possible.”

Dr. Singh said: “I very much like to go to Pakistan, [as] I was born in a village which is now part of that country. However, as Prime Minister, I have to go when a positive result can be had. I did not think the circumstances were right. I have still not given up hopes of going to Pakistan before I leave office.”