Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee formally invited Pakistani Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Friday to visit India to put in place a stable structure of co-operation and address all outstanding issues, including Jammu & Kashmir.
According to an external affairs ministry spokesman, India's acting high commissioner in Islamabad, Sudhir Vyas, called on Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar on Friday morning and handed over the invitation for General Musharraf and Begum Musharraf to visit India at their "earliest convenience".
The spokesman said Vajpayee told Musharraf in the letter that India had, through dialogue, consistently tried to build a relationship of durable peace, stability and co-operative friendship with Pakistan.
"Our common enemy is poverty. For the welfare of our peoples, there is no other recourse but a pursuit of the path of reconciliation, of engaging in productive dialogue and building trust and confidence. I invite you to walk this high road with us."
Vajpayee said that when he visited Lahore in February 1999 with the objective of beginning a new chapter in Indo-Pak relations, he had recorded at the Minar-e-Pakistan that a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan was in India's interest. "That remains our conviction."
"We have to pick up the threads again, including renewing the composite dialogue, so that we can put in place a stable structure of co-operation and address all outstanding issues, including Jammu & Kashmir," his letter stated.
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