Omar wants Pak engagement on Kashmir

Last Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 00:25

New Delhi: Asking the Government to have an
"active engagement" with Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief
Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday 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 Minsiter
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 extrenal 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



First Published: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 17:45

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