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.

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