India on Saturday refused to give a firm commitment on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan, saying that the atmosphere has to be "ripe" and something "worthwhile" should come out from such a trip.
Making it clear that Dr Singh was "not shying away" from visiting Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the Indian premier had never put conditions for his Pakistan visit.
"The prime minister has never put conditions for his visit to Pakistan. I think the visit will take place at an appropriate time when the atmosphere is ripe, when he feels that something worthwhile will come out of the visit," Krishna said at a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
Pressed further by a Pakistani journalist, Krishna said, "The prime minister is not shying away from visiting Pakistan. In every conceivable opportunity which came in his way, he has been dealing with the prime minister and president of Pakistan".
"Manmohan Singh is the one who has been the mover of the relationship to the next level," he said.
Krishna said that he will provide his own assessment of the situation and depending upon that, the prime minister will decide about his Pakistan visit.
"We all feel that the prime minister of India, I think has to work out, depending upon his schedule, his visit to Pakistan," Krishna said.
Later, the minister again said that he will report to Dr Singh his assessment, but added, "I will not be able to say when he will be coming."
To Krishna's remarks on his assessment, Khar chipped in and said, "From my interaction with him (Krishna), I can assure that the assessment will be a positive assessment".
Krishna's statement came on a day when Indo-Pak relations saw a new high in an atmosphere of positivity, with both countries signing a much-awaited new liberalised visa agreement.