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Statement made by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the Parliament on restoration of diplomatic ties with Pakistan on a reciprocal basis,
May 2, 2003

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament) that a High Commissioner to Pakistan would be appointed and civil aviation links with Pakistan would be restored on a reciprocal basis.

Following is the text of the Prime Minister's statement:

"I received a telephone call on the evening of 28th April, from PM Jamali of Pakistan.

PM Jamali conveyed his appreciation and thanks for the comments I had made in Srinagar and my remarks about India-Pakistan relations contained in my statement in the two Houses of Parliament. He also condemned terrorism.

As Honourable members are aware, we are committed to the improvement of relations with Pakistan, and are willing to grasp every opportunity for doing so. However, we have repeatedly expressed the need to create a conducive atmosphere for a sustained dialogue, which necessarily requires an end to cross border terrorism and the dismantling of its infrastructure.

We discussed ways of carrying forward our bilateral relations. In this regard, I emphasized the importance of economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, people-to-people contacts and civil aviation links. These would create an environment in which difficult issues in our bilateral relations could be addressed. PM Jamali suggested resumption of sporting links between the two countries. We agreed that, as a beginning, these measures could be considered.

In this context, it has been decided to appoint a High Commissioner to Pakistan and to restore the civil aviation links on a reciprocal basis.

I also emphasized the importance of substantive progress on the decisions for regional trade and economic cooperation taken at the SAARC Kathmandu Summit. Agreements arrived at Kathmandu must be implemented".





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