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India Has Optimism To Restore Diplomatic Ties With Pakistan - 2003-05-07


The diplomatic maneuvering between India and Pakistan continued Wednesday as New Delhi cautiously welcomed Islamabad’s decision to ease trade restrictions and restore travel and sporting links. VOA TV’s Jim Bertel has the latest.

India has reacted with guarded optimism to Pakistan’s offer to restore full diplomatic ties, while urging Islamabad to do more to crack down on Pakistan-based Islamic militants fighting in Kashmir. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said this is imperative for the peace process to move forward.

The Prime Minister, in his statement to the Parliament on May 2nd, had made it clear that a sustained dialogue would necessarily require an end to cross-border terrorism and the dismantling of its infrastructure.

Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali told a news conference he was encouraged by the recent developments.

"It is my hope that India will seize the moment, put aside the acrimony of the past and purposefully move forward with Pakistan to peacefully resolve all issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

The breakthrough comes as U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage prepares for talks beginning Thursday that will encourage both countries to continue their effort to improve relations.

Nowhere have the peace overtures been more welcomed than in the villages along the line of control, which divides the disputed Kashmir region. Most residents are poor farmers. Here, cross border shelling has continued amid the renewed diplomacy.

This man says villagers are afraid to work in the fields where stray shells have killed at least two people and wounded several others in the past two years.

This man lost his wife in the shelling. His business was also destroyed. In these picturesque villages, life has come to a standstill. For villagers, the recent peace gestures offer the best hope that the fighting will soon end.