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...last but not least, peace

India announced on Wednesday a new year gift package of four proposals for Pakistan before Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee leaves for Islamabad

• Talks this month on bus link between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad on the Pakistan side of Kashmir

• Talks also on railway connection between Khokrapar in Rajasthan and Munabao in Sindh

• Staff strength in respective high commissions in Delhi and Islamabad to be raised to 75

• Pakistan diplomats allowed to travel outside Delhi

Under an agreement earlier, flights between the two countries resume after two years from New Year’s Day

• The first Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore will leave for Delhi in the afternoon

• Indian Airlines will fly to Lahore after January 9

Amid gestures of conciliation, good wishes are pouring in. Yasin Malik, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader, sent new year greetings to both Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf. He also announced that, unlike on previous occasions, there would be no protests in Kashmir when the two sides talk.

Calls came from Washington, London and Paris expressing support for the peace initiative.

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