India Committed To Solve Aksai Chin, Baltistan Issues Through Talks: PM
11 June 2005
Leh (J&K): Affirming India's commitment to settle the issue of Aksai Chin with China and Baltistan with Pakistan peacefully through talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said efforts will be made to open trade routes with these areas currently under 'foreign occupation'. He said talks would be held with China for opening up of the route to Kailash Mansarovar through Ladakh so that the time of pilgrimmage to one of the most sacred religious place could be reduced. 'A big part of Ladakh, Aksai Chin, is under foreign occupation. In the same way, Baltistan (in Northern Areas under Pakistani occupation) is under control of foreign troops,' he told a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for a 45 MW hydel power project here. 'We are firmly determined to resolve these problems through talks with China and Pakistan so that people of (J and K) can lead a peaceful life and can utilise their creative energy to take the state to new frontiers,' he said. Aksai Chin is a part of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan in 1947 and later ceded to China. The Prime Minister noted that in earlier times, trading used to be done through Ladakh with Xinkiang (China) and Central Asia. 'I will make an effort to ensure that relations with China improve and new trade routes are opened with that country. Earlier, the Prime Minister said efforts were being made to open the route between Kargil and Skardu in Pak-occupied Northern Areas as people wanted to have trade relations with Baltistan and Gilgit.