December 9, 2003 - Issue: Vol. 149, No. 176 — Daily Edition108th Congress (2003 - 2004) - 1st Session
INTRODUCING A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN FOR IMPROVED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E2489] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCING A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN FOR IMPROVED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES ______ HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS of florida in the house of representatives Monday, December 8, 2003 Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a resolution commending the governments of India and Pakistan for their efforts to achieve peace and stability in the South Asian region. For years, India and Pakistan have been the victims of numerous terrorist attacks, which have greatly heightened religious and ethnic tensions in the troubled region. Discord amongst Hindu and Muslim populations has led to a war of attrition, whereby insurgents on both sides sneak across the border to commit murder and destruction before sneaking back across. India and Pakistan have a history of disputes going back decades. The most prominent amongst these conflicts has been the territory of Kashmir. India and Pakistan each claim Kashmir as their own, despite the territory having its own distinct population agitating for autonomy. Indian and Pakistani forces have routinely engaged in minor skirmishes along the border. The conflict, more than any other, has led to a destabilizing nuclear arms race in the region, resulting in threats of war and the severing of political, diplomatic, and economic links. In recent months, however, diplomatic overtures between India and Pakistan have resulted in laudable agreements to improve relations. Since April 2003, India and Pakistan have sent ambassadors, reestablished bus links, and declared the first real cease-fire in the 17-year-old border conflict. Most recently, the two countries resumed air travel and overflight rights with one another. Further, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee has agreed to attend in the near future a regional economic summit in Islamabad, a sure sign of progress. The resolution I am introducing today congratulates India and Pakistan on their efforts to achieve stability and to seek a peaceful means to resolve their disputes. The resolution also recognizes both countries' efforts in the global war on terrorism and their close partnerships with the United States. Though both nations still have a long way to go to fully achieve a lasting peace, the House of Representatives should be pleased with their determination to seek a peaceful, economically prosperous road to stability. Mr. Speaker, I conclude by once again referring to the unconscionable acts of violence and terror wrought on both India and Pakistan. I further express my support and encouragement to both nations for their efforts to rebuild diplomatic relations despite trying circumstances. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I ask the House leadership to bring it swiftly to the floor for its consideration. ____________________