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India takes peace initiative a step further

September 23, 2003 18:54 IST

India on Tuesday proposed to Pakistan an increase in the staff strength of the respective high commissions in Delhi and Islamabad by eight.

Clearly aimed at carrying forward Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiative, the move seeks to increase the present level of 47 diplomats and personnel to 55.

The offer, conveyed to the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi and through the Indian mission in Islamabad to Pakistani authorities, comes ahead of Vajpayee's address to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25 and his talks with US President George W Bush on Wednesday.

The peace initiative launched on April 18 from Srinagar by the prime minister and Islamabad's failure to stop cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir are expected to figure in both his UNGA address and parleys with the US president and other world leaders.

Following the December 13 attack on Parliament, India cut by 50 per cent the staff strength of its mission in Islamabad. This subsequently went down to 47.

Pakistan has also been informed that a visit by a team from Pakistan Indus Waters Commission to Baglihar Project in
Jammu and Kashmir would be organised in October this year in response to a request from Islamabad for a site visit, an
External Affairs Ministry statement said.


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