Engage Pak for lasting solution to Kashmir: Omar22 October 2011
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Asking the Government to have an 'active engagement' with Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said without this a permanent and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue is unlikely to emerge. 'The long term and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue is unlikely to emerge without an active engagement with Pakistan. The cross-LoC trade and the bus service between the two sides will not yield further if we do not continue with the external dialogue process,' Omar said at the National Development Council meeting here chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Omar linked the economic growth of the State was 'inextricably linked' with the political resolution of the grievances and aspirations of the people and said the present global scenario and relative peace in the State was an opportunity to widen internal as well as external dialogue process. 'The outcome of a political roadmap will have great significance on the confidence of the investors also. In very brief terms, the State needs to be transformed from a 'securitized' narrative to a political one,' he said and added that this would require the widening of the dialogue process - both internal as well as external. 'The appointment of Interlocutors was a very welcome step. We need to implement their recommendations without any further delay so as to effectively address the internal dimensions of the current situation. He said the relative peace in the State and the present global scenario provided an opportunity to move further on the dialogue process. On the economic front, Omar said Jammu and Kashmir does not seem to be a co-sharer in some of the 'bright spots' of country’s 'new economy' and investments have fallen short of requirement that has led to relative sense of deprivation in the minds of youth. The Chief Minister said his State was lagging behind in almost 18 socio-economic indicators as compared to the rest of the country. 'The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has not transcended into the State boundaries...Such gaps and inadequacies in development are a matter of constant worry,' he said. Referring to last year’s summer unrest, Omar said 'lessons were learnt the hard way. One of the key learning is that we must integrate the dynamism, creativity and the power of youth with the steel framework and conservative prudence of established institutions of governance so as to be able to provide legitimate space to our young men and women in the development landscape.' The lagging behind of the State, he said, was not an outcome of the disturbances of the last two decades only but also becuase of an outdated education system which is not in tandem with the requirements of the 21st century growth paradigm. 'In short, we need to address the underlined disease of non-performing and rusted system of education. We need to develop a model curriculum and a system which inculcates the required skill in our youth to prepare them to participate in the competitive markets of the contemporary times. 'Until we are able to upgrade and overhaul the system of education to such a level, I fear the youth in general, and young people in Jammu and Kashmir in particular, will continue to be by-passed by the growth process,' he said. Omar said investments towards building a knowledge driven economy in the State have fallen far short of the requirements. 'The high level of unemployment has led to a relative sense of deprivation in the minds of our youth,' he said. 'In a globalising world, competitiveness of business and industry is contingent upon road, rail and air infrastructure. Unfortunately, we have one of the poorest road connectivity in the country...We have an international airport at Srinagar which is not a civilian airport it is an international Airport without international flights. 'The squeezed flying timings further complicate the scenario. The ICT potential available in the State cannot be fully realized in the absence of international air travel facilities,' he said and endorsed the observations of the Planning Commission that efficient, reliable and safe transport system is fundamental to rapid growth. (PTI) .