Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said India would resume diplomatic and air links with Pakistan as part of a “decisive” attempt to restore peace. Friday’s announcement was swiftly welcomed by Pakistan which said it was ready to restore “full diplomatic relations” with India. Within hours, the United States reacted with Secretary of State Colin Powell terming the developments “very, very promising”. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in a telephone conversation with Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, “warmly welcomed” the developments. Speaking in parliament, the Indian prime minister also rejected Islamabad’s call for external mediation to resolve the bitter dispute over Kashmir, and said he was unable to accept an invitation from his Pakistani counterpart Zafarullah Jamali to visit Islamabad for talks. Full Story
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