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India and Pakistan to re-establish complete diplomatic ties
May 02, 2003 12:25 IST
India and Pakistan on Friday decided to once again establish full diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced India's decision to appoint a high commissioner to Pakistan and restore civil aviation links on a reciprocal basis.
Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, he said 'now whatever happens will be decisive and this will be my third and final effort' at improving bilateral ties with Islamabad.
"Even for me, it is a decisive and conclusive step.
"We are committed to improvement of relations with Pakistan and we are willing to grasp every opportunity for doing so," he said.
Soon after that, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said in Islamabad that a high commissioner would be sent to New Delhi.
A 'concrete announcement', however, will come from Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, he said.
"We are glad that the Prime Minister of India has said so. It is a step in the right direction," he added.
India had recalled its high commissioner to Pakistan, Vijay K Nambiar, following the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. It had also announced stiff measures, including snapping of air, rail and road links. It had also expelled Pakistan's envoy to New Delhi, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi. The strength of the missions in New Delhi and Islamabad were reduced to half.
Responding to a clarification sought by a Congress member on the remarks of Jay Garner, the retired American general who is overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq, that a solution to the Kashmir issue will be in place by December 2004, Vajpayee said: "I have seen the report, but it is not correct to say that it is the US point of view..."
"Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and no third party will be allowed to mediate," he said.
Giving details of his telephonic talk with Jamali on April 28, Vajpayee said: "I emphasised the importance of economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, people-to-people contacts and civil aviation links. These will create an environment in which difficult issues in our bilateral relations can be addressed. Prime Minister Jamali suggested resumption of sporting links between the two countries. We agreed that, as a beginning, these measures could be considered."
Terming his Pakistani counterpart's response as encouraging, Vajpayee said: "I felt there should be some way out. When there is darkness, nobody stops us from lighting a lamp. There is darkness… but I see brightness and I have the courage of conviction."
On Jamali inviting him to Pakistan, the prime minister said: "I was unable to accept the invitation."
Vajpayee said Jamali condemned terrorism during their conversation.
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