Govt Keeps Fingers Crossed On Kashmir Summer: PM24 February 2011
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Noting that Jammu and Kashmir had gone through a 'difficult time' last year, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today said the Government was keeping its 'fingers crossed' this summer while remaining vigilant as he asserted that no quarter should be given to secessionists. 'Our approach to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir is that we will give no quarter to secessionist elements. We will do everything in our power to strengthen the hands of the State Government to provide a fairer deal to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, to provide avenues for gainful employment,' he said, replying to a debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address. 'We have passed through a difficult time, particularly the last summer,' Dr Singh said, talking about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He did not elaborate but was clearly referring to the months of unrest in Kashmir valley, involving stone pelting, which led to a cycle of violence resulting in death of over 100 people. 'Since then the situation has improved. But we keep our fingers crossed. Come this summer, I hope we will be vigilant enough to ensure that the unfortunate events that took place in the last summer in parts of Jammu and Kashmir do not take place,' the Prime Minister said. He underlined that it was an 'obligation' of all the political parties to do nothing, which will disturb the peaceful atmosphere that now prevails in Jammu and Kashmir. Dr Singh said that the report of the Rangarajan committee appointed by him to work out a plan for providing up to one-lakh jobs to Kashmiri youth was 'nearly ready' and once its implementation starts the 'mindset' of Kashmiri people will change. Asserting that the dialogue process set to be resumed, Dr Singh asked Pakistan to grasp its hand of friendship and made it clear that all issues can be resolved if it stopped use of its territory for anti-India activities. He said there were 'hopeful signs' and an atmosphere in which negotiations between the two countries can go forward. 'I sincerely hope and believe that the new ruling classes of Pakistan would grasp the hands of our friendship and recognise that whatever are our differences, terror as an instrument of State policy, is something that no civilised society ought to use,' he said. Asserting that dialogue was the only way to resolve differences, Singh noted that Foreign Secretaries of the two countries had agreed to resume the dialogue process after a bilateral meeting in Thimphu last month. 'We are willing to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan provided Pakistan gives up its practice of allowing the use of its territory for terrorist activities against India,' he said. Dr Singh said full development of the Indian sub-continent could not be achieved unless India and Pakistan normalise the relations between them. 'I have been working for that objective since 2005,' he said. Some progress had been made which was followed by a lapse, he said in an obvious reference to the 26-11 Mumbai terror attacks after which India had suspended the composite dialogue process with Pakistan. 'Some progress was made, but then there was a lapse and the terrorist elements, would of course, not allow the process of normalisation to come into effect,' Dr Singh said. The Prime Minister said he was convinced and believed that there was growing conviction in Pakistan's thinking population as well that terrorism was not an instrument which can be used by any civilised Government as an instrument of State policy.