London: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh secretly appointed an official envoy to make contact with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani of Pakistan in 2010 to build on the cricket-inspired diplomatic thaw between India and Pakistan, a media report said on Saturday.

The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged the UK and US believe that the countries competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process, report said.

The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who came to India in February to watch the semi-final match between India and Pakistan in the cricket World Cup has sparked hopes of a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbouring countries.

To build contacts with Taliban groups, Kayani visited Kabul this week to meet members of the High Peace Council, a body set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The Army Chief was accompanied by General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.