Jammu And Kashmir To Be Biggest Benefactor Of Indo-Pak Talks, Jitendra Singh

27 December 2015

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Pakistan is a 'positive step' which would lead to more such steps, Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh said today while noting that peace parleys between the two countries would benefit Jammu and Kashmir the most. 'This (PM's Pakistan visit) is a positive step which will lead to other and subsequently other leads will follow. A meeting ground has been formed to discuss other issues,' Singh, who hails from Jammu, told reporters here. He said Jammu and Kashmir which has borne the brunt of terrorism would be the biggest beneficiary of the peace parleys between India and Pakistan. 'There is no second opinion about the fact that in the second half or quarter of the century, Jammu Kashmir is the greatest sufferer as far as terrorism is concerned and therefore any process which seeks to restore peace in the subcontinent and the region, will certainly have the most important benefit for Jammu and Kashmir,' said the MP from the state. He said the entire world was surprised over the Prime Minister's visit to Pakistan also also welcomed his move aimed at mending relationship between the two nations. 'The entire world was surprised and the Pakistan media also. The most interesting fact was that when Prime Minister got out of the aircraft and the Pakistan media was running forward to cover him he along with Nawaz Sahab immediately boarded the helicopter and Pakistan media was not aware of anything,' the Minister said. 'This is something which has been welcomed by and large by everybody', he said. To criticism by Opposition parties, Singh said, 'Except for those few who are not inclined to give Prime Minister the credit, everybody else has welcomed it. But some of the opposition leaders who are not comfortable with it are the ones who would criticize us anyway.' The MoS in PMO said the several initiatives could not go forward because they had already come in the discussion and were in the public domain. He said some of the opposition leaders would criticize the Prime Minister for whatever he does. 'If Prime Minister does not talk, then the allegation is that he is not talking. When (NSA) Ajit Doval spoke to his counterpart in Bangkok for reasons of confidentiality, the accusation was why in third country and now we have gone there, they say why have you gone there. Regardless of the accusations, the things have to move forward', Singh said. On the allegations by the opposition parties that Modi deviated from India's stated position that terror and talks cannot go together, he said that terror can stop only after talks are held. 'When there are bombs blasts you cannot listen to each other, so this has to move on and there is no other option and the Prime Minister is keeping alive the spirit with which he had taken the oath and invited Pakistan Prime Minister and other heads of states. He gave a loud message that we want to work in an atmosphere of coexistence with all the neighboring countries,' he said. He said some leaders from the opposition were fuming that Modi had gone to Pakistan without preparation, but 'I ask them how do you know that he went there without preparation. Now if everything is made public, then you get hurdles as you move ahead.' Asked whether the issue of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would also figure in the talks between the two countries, he said the roadmap for talks was yet to be decided. 'What to talk and where to start, this thing has to be decided. If we discuss anything in public today it might pre-empt the very initiative itself and it might not be in the national interest to discuss the possible agenda,' he said. When asked to react on the statement of veteran actor Anupam Kher who has said that the revocation of Article 370 from the Constitution would end all the problems of Kashmir, he said that it was the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take a call on the issue. 'There is a coalition government, very sensitive government . They have an agenda of the alliance, they should take a call,' he said. 'Within the state now that there is a coalition government, we leave it to them how they want to move ahead with their agenda of alliance' he said. Replying to a question about the statement of BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav in which he had said that one day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh would unite, the MoS in PMO said such a school of thought existed even before the partition. 'I don't think such type of discussion is going on. Right now it is about improving the relationship (between India and Pakistan). There is a school of thought which existed before the partition and which was not convinced with the two nation theory. 'There has been a very strong school or opinion, however I cannot express my personal opinion on the issue,' he said. On the issue of reports claiming that PDP was preparing to replace Mufti Mohammed Sayeed with his daughter Mehbooba Mufti as the chief minister of the state, he said that if something of this sort happens, BJP has a mechanism to take a decision. 'There is a mechanism in the party (BJP) and if any situations like this comes up there are authorities in the party to take a call on it. Of course they will consult the workers like me, but there are some designated authorities to take decision,' he said. When asked to comment on media reports suggesting that terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) was trying to spread its tentacles in Kashmir, he said the Defence Minister during his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir had said that the government was in control of these activities. 'He (Defence Minister had said that the government was in control of the activities by all these agencies and there is nothing to worry and we are affectively working on it,' he said. Besides highlighting the achievements of the Modi government, the Union Minister also highlighted the work he has done in his constituency under various central schemes.