Important Step For Ties: Omar

25 May 2014
Kashmir Times

Srinagar: Chief minister Omar Abdullah today hailed Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif's decision to attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi and said the two leaders have showed that they will not allow hawkish elements to set the agenda for ties. 'Two very important steps have been taken. One Modi inviting Sharif and second, Sharif accepting the invitation. Both decisions, to invite and the acceptance were not easy. We appreciate both decisions,' Omar said. He said some people in Pakistan had expressed reservations about Sharif's visit to India and had even issued threats that the Pakistan Premier gets a 'one way ticket'. 'They (two leaders) have shown that they will not allow forces inimical to good Indo-Pak relations to grow and not allow them to set the agenda, which is a good thing for both the countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir,' he added. Chief minister said that Modi meeting his Pakistan counterpart on the first day at work was a good sign in respect of Jammu and Kashmir as building relations between the top leaders of the two countries sometimes takes a long time. Sharif's acceptance to Modi's invite imp step for ties: Omar Abdullah 'Two very important steps have been taken. One Modi inviting Sharif and second, Sharif accepting the invitation,' Omar said. 'May be Modi meeting Nawaz on the first day at work will be beneficial for us as they are trying to build relations from the first day which otherwise, we have seen, takes lot of time. By then there is change in either India or in Pakistan and the process has to be started afresh. 'Now that Modi and Sharif have decided to meet, we will hope that there will be improvement,' he said. Omar said that if Modi and Sharif are able to work together, Jammu and Kashmir will be a 'natural' beneficiary of this development. 'Jammu and Kashmir has always suffered due to poor relations between India and Pakistan and has always benefited from good relations between the two countries,' he said. Chief minister said the time has come that a dialogue process between the Centre and leadership in Jammu and Kashmir is started and the Hurriyat Conference joins it too. 'Perhaps with this sort of initiatives, there is scope for an initiative between the Centre and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state government will be definitely pushing for this. 'The Hurriyat needs to come forward now and participate in the dialogue. For too long, sections of Hurriyat have been willing to talk behind closed doors with functionaries of Central government but they are unwilling to come forward and participate in a meaningful dialogue,' he added. In response to a question, Omar said there is not going to be a trilateral dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir. 'It has been very clear. The moment you start asking questions if there are going to be talks on Jammu and Kashmir, you are setting up for the failure of this initiative. 'This is not about talks about Kashmir. This is about a new prime minister establishing a working relationship with his counterpart in a country which is very important to us,' he said. Asked about the change in BJP attitude towards Pakistan, Omar said such things happen when the opposition party comes to power. 'When in opposition, the tune is always different. They come to understand the reality when they come in power and the tunes change. Policy of Modi government will be known only when the government is formed,' he said. Earlier in the day, Abdullah had tweeted welcoming the decision of Sharif to attend the swearing in. 'Very glad to hear Pak PM has accepted the invite, shows that he can prevail over forces inimical to good relations with India,' he said. But at the same time he said he can't help feel sorry for others taking oath or attending the ceremony 'because the only photo op that will matter now will be the Modi-Sharif handshake.'