Manmohan: Willing For Talks For J&K Peace

28 October 2009
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Wanpoh: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday the government was willing to talk to anyone for peace in Jammu and Kashmir. The public sentiment was for peace and peaceful resolution of all problems and the era of violence and terrorism was coming to an end, he added. “When I came to office in 2004, I said our government is committed to having unconditional dialogue with whoever abjures violence. We had discussions with different groups. We had a number of roundtable conferences. All issues were discussed. We tried to give voice to the demands of all sections of the people. We have implemented a number of initiatives as a result of this process,” he said at a public meeting here. “I wish to say again today that we are willing to talk to anyone who has any meaningful ideas for promoting peace and development in Kashmir. We want to carry all sections of the people with us in resolving the political and economic problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. Dr. Singh lauded the people of Jammu and Kashmir for taking part in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. “I am happy that people turned out to vote in large numbers. I believe that it was a vote for a peaceful path to a better tomorrow. I applaud the wisdom and good faith of the common man of Kashmir.” Dr. Singh said: “We have tried to revive the traditional connectivity between the people of the region. We took the bold step of reviving the movement of goods and people across the Line of Control on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and on the Poonch-Rawalakot road. I am happy to announce that the Central government has decided to fund the additional cost of Rs. 385 crore to build the heritage Mughal Road that will connect Shopian with remote areas of Poonch and Rajouri.” Unprecedented resources were committed to the State for its comprehensive reconstruction. “But I recognise that the benefits are trickling down slowly. This state of affairs should change. We have to speed up the pace of development. We have to reverse the brain drain that has denuded the State of many of its teachers, doctors, engineers and intellectuals. We have to create the conditions for them to return and to be the instruments of change and development. We want to strengthen the hands of the State government so that it can implement an ambitious development agenda,” Dr. Singh said. Later Dr. Singh inaugurated the Anantnag-Qazigund rail link.