Improve Indo-Pak Ties For Normalcy In Kashmir: Omar

2 March 2009
The Hindu

Gulmarg: Relations between India and Pakistan should improve so that 'complete normalcy' returns to Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said here on Monday. “I hope relations between India and Pakistan improve in the near future so that complete normalcy returns here,” Abdullah said while inaugurating a two-day ski event, Gulmarg Derby 2009. The event at the popular resort town, 60 km from the state's summer capital Srinagar, is being attended by participants from about 40 countries and includes a free ski run, snow boarding and a cross country ski event. The five kilometre cable car project, the Gulmarg Gondola, to carry skiers to the starting point of the race was the brainchild of his father, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, and even he did not expect it to become such a great attraction, the chief minister said. He added that infrastructure augmentation for Gulmarg was being planned under a comprehensive project. “Gulmarg should become a dream destination for all the seasons and not just for summer and winter months.” In a lighter vein, the 39-year-old chief minister said it was for the first time that he was inaugurating a ski event here and not actually participating in it. Later, Abdullah actually did a few ski runs to the cheers of the participants here. “There are participants from nearly 40 foreign countries. Everybody is encouraged by the response we are getting in putting Gulmarg on the international ski map,” said Mehmood Shah, joint director of the state tourism department here. Many local ski enthusiasts are also taking part. National