Muft Govt Upbeat, Says Modi's Visit Step In Right Direction

25 December 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Government has welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore. In a statement issued from New Delhi, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed said he was delighted by Modi's visit which will further strengthen the bonds of friendship and usher in an era of peace and stability in the region. 'This is an evolutionary process and a step in the right direction. It indicates the Prime Minister's resolve to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan,' he stated. For long, Mufti Sayeed has been pressing for Indo-Pak dialogue. In his statements and speeches, he has been invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's policy towards Pakistan and wanted Modi to take forward the legacy. The Chief Minister hoped that the meeting between the two leaders would provide the much-needed momentum for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue for the peaceful resolution of all issues between the two countries. 'This initiative, besides being a great step for the improvement of bilateral relations, will also give an impetus to the concept of SAARC,' he added. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh termed the visit a 'good gesture' by Modi. Relating the visit to the unfinished agenda of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh said: 'Vajpayee wanted better relations with neighbours when he visited Lahore and Modi has taken the same initiative forward. Modi's visit is a good gesture as we want peace and friendship and Pakistan should also respond on the same lines.' The Deputy Chief Minister was talking to media at his official residence on the sidelines of a function organised to celebrate Vajpayee's 91st birthday. The unscheduled and unexpected visit of Modi to Pakistan has surprised one and all and it is being seen as a constructive approach by him to improve relations with Pakistan. Singh said the good gesture from Modi had started when he invited Sharif to his oath-taking ceremony. 'After that what happened on borders and at other places somehow derailed the peace process but we know that talks and dialogue is the only way forward. We have to address all outstanding issues this way only,' added the senior BJP leader.