New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Lahore to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, saying it is a step in the right direction.
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 step in the right direction", he said.
"It indicates the Prime Minister's resolve to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan," the Chief Minister said in a statement.
Sayeed hoped that the meeting between the two leaders will provide the much-needed momentum to the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues between the two countries.
This initiative, besides being a great step towards improvement of bilateral relations, will also give impetus to the concept of SAARC, he added.
Sayeed was yesterday admitted to AIIMS here after he complained of uneasiness at his residence in Srinagar and was flown to Delhi in a state aircraft. The 79-year-old PDP leader was admitted in the private ward of the premier medical institute.
Terming the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "welcome step", Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said time has come when the political leadership of Pakistan need to take a stand and work for building permanent peace in the region.
"It is a welcome step. This visit seems to connect the peace move of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lahore. Today's visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore on Atal Ji's birthday is significant," Singh said.
"Modi ji is moving forward in that direction. It is his good gesture as a meighbour," he told reporters here at a function to celebrate the birthday of the former PM.
Deputy Chief Minister said,"We want peace and good relations with neighbours. PM had called every neighbour to his oath ceremony."
"But Pakistan resorted to border firing along Indo-Pak border and increased militancy in J&K," he said, adding that "dialogue is the only way to resolve talks."
Pakistan should understand this. "Keeping that thing in view, Modi has gone there. J&K is the biggest victim of the Pakistan sponsored activities," he said.
He said "Army in Pakistan is dictating the foreign policy of Pakistan. Army and ISI don't want Indo-Pak relation to improve. But people of Pakistan want peace and good relations with India."
"Time has come when the political leadership of Pakistan needs to take a stand and work in direction of building permanent peace in the region," he said.
Singh said, "they should listen to peace voice of their people and ignore the fringe voices...as world is now against the terrorism".
While paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 91st birth Anniversary, Deputy Chief Minister, said the contribution of the great leader would always be remembered.
Singh, said that Vajpayee was also instrumental in strengthening the BJP at grass root level thereby making it a "formidable" political force in the country.
"Atal Ji had great respect and love for this part (Kashmir) of the nation and in his earlier days of politics, he used to come, interact and even encourage the young and budding political activist which was instrumental in shaping their individuality and they have contributed their bit in the polity of the state" the Deputy Chief Minister added.